Indigenous voices and knowledge systems – promoting planetary health, health equity, and sustainable development for future generations (2019)

Citation: Ratima M, Martin D, Castleden H, Delormier T. Indigenous voices and knowledge systems – promoting planetary health, health equity, and sustainable development now and for future generations. Glob Health Promot. 2019 Apr;26(3_suppl):3-5. doi: 10.1177/1757975919838487. PMID: 30964406.

Relevant to: 

Public health Dietitians-Nutritionists working in any type of health promotion and/or climate action. 


This editorial comments on the collection of papers in the supplement issue of the Global Health Promotion Journal “Whenua Ora: Healthy Lands, Healthy Peoples” (2019).  

Bottom line for nutrition practice: 

Long term solutions for sustainability require a paradigm shift away from Western reductionist and individualistic approaches toward Indigenous perspectives of the interconnectedness between humanity and the natural world.  



More details: 

The editors argue that as the planet’s ecosystem continues to deteriorate, a shift away from Western anthropocentric perspectives which separate humans from the natural world is inevitable. While, in theory, Health Promotion links humanity and the natural environment, the authors argue that the discipline has not made the shift to this holistic perspective that is characteristic of many Indigenous paradigms. They further suggest that Indigenous perspectives which emphasize interdependence and reciprocal stewardship with the natural world offer solutions for health promotion and sustainability.  

While the editors state that Indigenous Health Promotion (IHP) has developed over millennia, they suggest that contemporary IHP was motivated by a “need to make space for Indigenous ways of being, knowing and doing”. They outline concepts central to IHP, including: “self-determination; land-based learning; decolonization; health equity; environmental sustainability; cultural and linguistic integrity; and resurgence”. Ancestral land is key to IHP as a “point of connection between the past, present and future generations, as a source of identity and spiritual connection, and as a place that fosters community participation and cohesion” (p.4). While IHP is Indigenous led, the authors suggest that non-Indigenous Health Promotion researchers and practitioners are needed to support self-determined IHP.  

Of additional interest: 

A synopsis of “Climate change and Indigenous Health Promotion” from this supplement, is also included in this collection of papers. 

Editor’s comment: 


Open access link to article:


Conflict of interest/ Funding: 

None declared.  

External relevant links: 

Link for the entire journal supplement, however it is not open access: 

For the International Union for Health Promotion and Education 2019 Legacy documents from the conference that this journal supplement is associated with, see: (English, French, Spanish, and other languages upon request).  

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