4147.4.55.001 - Culture and Recreation News, Jul 2004  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 06/08/2004   
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The 2002 National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS), released in June 2004, provides an update on information about cultural participation and language characteristics that was collected when the original survey was conducted in 1994.

On the cultural front, the 2002 NATSISS showed little change from the 1994 survey. Just over half of Indigenous people continued to identify with a clan, tribal or language group, as was the case in 1994, despite there being a decline in the percentage (29% to 22%) of people who lived in homelands and traditional country. Almost seven out of ten Indigenous people aged 15 years or over had attended cultural events in the previous 12 months, similar to the situation in 1994. 'Cultural events' encompassed funerals; ceremonies; festivals or carnivals involving art, craft, music, dance or sport; and involvement with an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander organisation. In 2002, use of an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander language as the main language spoken at home remained at 1994 levels (about one in eight Indigenous people). For each of these measures of cultural attachment, higher rates were reported in remote areas.

The 2002 NATSISS also provided data on participation in sport or physical recreation activities, an area where locality made little difference to the results. In all, 49% of Indigenous people participated in sport or physical recreation in the preceding 12 months, with significantly more men than women involved (57% versus 42%). The level of Indigenous participation in sport or physical recreation activities declined steadily with age for both men and women.

The main features of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, Australia, 2002 are freely available on the ABS Web site.