Objectives The health of people from Indigenous and ethnic minorities is poorer than the remainder of the population. Frequently, Westernized health systems respond by introducing self-management interventions to improve chronic illness health outcomes. The aim of this study was to answer the research question: "Can self-management programs that have been adapted or modified still be effective for ethnic minority and Indigenous populations?" Methods A systematic review across four databases was conducted. Results Twenty-three publications met the inclusion criteria. As the studies were heterogeneous, meta-analysis was not possible. Overall, interventions resulted in more positive health outcomes than usual care, but findings were inconsistent. Discussion We argue that rather than focusing on individual skills, knowledge, self-efficacy, and attitudes toward self-management, it may be more important to explore the structures and processes that underpin the sharing of information and skills within clinical or education encounters. Given that self-management is a Western cultural construct, creating empathic and responsive systems might be more effective for improving health of Indigenous and ethnic minority groups rather than relying predominantly on individual skill development.