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4725.0 - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Wellbeing: A focus on children and youth, Apr 2011  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 23/05/2012  Reissue
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Contents >> Culture, Heritage and Leisure >> Connections with cultural groups and the land


CULTURE, HERITAGE AND LEISURE: CONNECTIONS WITH CULTURAL GROUPS AND THE LAND

This article is part of a comprehensive series released as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Wellbeing: A focus on children and youth.



Note: In this section 'children' refers to people aged 3–14 years. The terms 'youth' and 'young people' refer to people aged 15–24 years. Data presented are from the ABS National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, 2008 (cat. no. 4714.0).

KEY MESSAGES

In 2008:
  • 49% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and youth identified with a cultural group, such as a clan, tribal or language group
  • 52% of children and youth recognised an area as their homelands, compared with 77% of people aged 25 years and over
  • one-quarter (25%) of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth were living in their homelands.

Strong attachment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures may be associated with positive outcomes in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people's health, employment, chances of being involved in risky behaviour and likelihood of being arrested (Endnote 1). Recent research also suggests that, for children and youth, identification with culture may play a part in developing a sense of wellbeing and identity (Endnote 2).

IDENTIFYING WITH A CULTURAL GROUP

In 2008, 47% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and 51% of youth identified with a cultural group, such as a clan, tribal or language group.

Identification with a cultural group was more common among children and youth in remote areas than in non-remote areas (71% compared with 42%).

Overall, children and youth were less likely to identify with a cultural group than those aged 25 years and over (49% compared with 67%).

1.1 IDENTIFICATION WITH A CULTURAL GROUP BY REMOTENESS, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged three years and over2008
Graph: Identifying with a cultural group in remote and non-remote areas: ages 3 - 24 and 25+ years
(a) Difference between non-remote and remote areas is statistically significant.
Source: 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey

CONNECTION TO THE LAND
Connection to land and sea is a vital part of the culture and heritage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Recognition of homelands

Among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in 2008, 47% of children and 61% of youth recognised an area as their homelands or traditional country.

Children and youth in remote areas were more likely than those in non-remote areas to recognise an area as their homelands (75% compared with 46%).

Overall, children and youth were less likely than people aged 25 years and over to recognise an area as their homelands (52% compared with 77%).

1.2 RECOGNITION OF HOMELANDS BY REMOTENESS, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged three years and over—2008

Graph: Recognition of homelands in remote and non-remote areas: ages 3 -24 and 25+ years
(a) Difference between non-remote and remote areas is statistically significant.
Source: 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey

Living in homelands

In the 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS), young people aged 15–24 years who recognised an area as their homelands were asked if they were living in their homelands, or if they were able to visit them.

Of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth in 2008, one-quarter (25%) reported that they were living in their homelands, an increase from 2002 (18%).

Youth living in remote areas were significantly more likely than those living in non-remote areas to recognise and be living in their homelands (47% compared with 19%).

Among youth who did not live in their homelands, but were allowed to visit:
  • 21% visited approximately once a year
  • 22% visited several times a year
  • 11% visited at least once a month.
ENDNOTES

1. Dockery, A.M. 2009, Culture and Wellbeing: The case of Indigenous Australians, Centre for Labour Market Research and School of Economics and Finance, Perth, <www.business.curtin.edu.au>.

2. Usborne E, Taylor D.M., 2010, The role of cultural identity clarity for self-concept clarity, self-esteem, and subjective well-being, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, July, 36(7), pp.883-97.

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