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4725.0 - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Wellbeing: A focus on children and youth, Apr 2011  
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Contents >> Culture, Heritage and Leisure >> Involvement in cultural events and activities


CULTURE, HERITAGE AND LEISURE: INVOLVEMENT IN CULTURAL EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES

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

Among all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and youth in 2008:
  • 65% had been involved in one or more Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander cultural events in the last year
  • 63% had participated in one or more Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander cultural activities in the last year.

INVOLVEMENT IN CULTURAL EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES

Involvement in cultural events and activities is a way of celebrating and building on cultural heritage.

In the 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS), children and youth were asked if they had participated in selected cultural activities such as fishing and hunting and cultural events such as ceremonies or NAIDOC Week activities, in the 12 months before the survey.

In 2008, 65% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and youth had been involved in one or more cultural events and 63% had participated in one or more cultural activities in the 12 months before the survey.

Children and youth living in remote areas were more likely than those living in non-remote areas to have been involved in cultural events (80% compared with 61%) and to have participated in cultural activities (78% compared with 59%).

Types of cultural events and activities

In the 12 months before the 2008 NATSISS, the most common cultural events children had participated in were NAIDOC Week activities (53%), sports carnivals (35%) and festivals involving arts, crafts, music or dance (32%), while the most common cultural activities were fishing (45%) and making arts and crafts (29%).

For youth, the most common cultural events to be involved in were NAIDOC Week activities (34%) and the most common cultural activities were fishing (45%) and hunting (20%). Funerals or sorry business were also attended by 29% of youth.

Wanting to attend cultural events and activities – youth

In 2008, almost all young people (98% or 102,100 people) said that they would like to participate in cultural events and cultural activities.

Of those who wanted to participate in cultural events and activities (102,100 people):
  • 22% did so at least once a month
  • 29% did so several times a year
  • 16% did so once a year
  • 15% did so less than once a year
  • 17% had never attended cultural events/activities.
The 2008 NATSISS also asked youth if they were able to participate in cultural events and activities as often as they would like.

The majority of youth (75%) said they participated in cultural events and cultural activities as often as they would like. Youth living in remote areas were more likely than those living in non-remote areas to report that they were able to participate in cultural events and cultural activities as often as they wanted to (82% compared with 73%).

An estimated 23,800 youth (23%) were unable to participate in cultural events and activities as often as they would like. The most commonly cited reasons for not being able to participate were:
  • events or activities too far away (31%)
  • caring commitments (17%)
  • could not afford to attend (13%).
Reasons for not being able to participate did not differ significantly between youth living in non-remote and remote areas.

TEACHERS OF CULTURAL ACTIVITIES

Carers of children who had participated in cultural activities (99,600 children) were asked who was teaching the children these activities. Parents were most likely to be teachers of cultural activities (60%), followed by other relatives (41%) and teachers at school (33%).

Children in remote areas were more likely than children in non-remote areas to be learning about cultural activities from other relatives (61% compared with 33%). Children in non-remote areas were more likely than those in remote areas to have been taught cultural activities by teachers at school (37% compared with 22%).

4.1 TEACHERS OF CULTURAL ACTIVITIES(a), Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 3–14 years—2008
Graph: Teachers of cultural activities in remote and non-remote areas: ages 3 - 14 years
(a) Respondents could provide more than one answer.
(b) Difference between non-remote and remote areas is statistically significant.
(c) Difference between non-remote and remote areas is not statistically significant.

Source: 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey

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