Why do some indigenous peoples fare better under colonizers than others? This project proposes to find out, by looking at the forces that have shaped indigenous people’s health and well-being over the past 150 years in three different countries.
As a Wallenberg Academy Fellow, Axelsson plans to trace the historical development of indigenous health by bringing together missionaries' records, government reports and new databases on population, births and deaths. Together with researchers in Australia and New Zealand, he will investigate concrete questions, such as which have been the dominating causes of death, when did political mobilization occur among indigenous people, when were vaccines were introduced and when did Sami health equate with that of the Swedish majority population. The results of the research team will hopefully help improve the health of indigenous people in the future.