The major task of health professionals working in Indigenous health is to close the gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous rates of disease, and ultimately normalise life expectancy.

Emma Kowal argues in this chapter that a postcolonial dilemma lurks behind every progressive intervention, as health professionals fear that their efforts at improving the health of Indigenous people will inadvertently erode their cultural distinctiveness. She argues that certain features of Indigenous health discourse can be interpreted as a set of techniques aimed at distinguishing contemporary researchers from assimilationists of the past. The techniques examined here are the varying uses of ‘culture’as a diagnosis of ill health.