4738.0 - Changing characteristics of the Torres Strait region and its people, 2011 to 2016 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 12/09/2018  First Issue
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SOCIAL AND CULTURAL CHARACTERISTICS OF PEOPLE ON THE ISLANDS


The following analysis is based on results from the 2014-15 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS). In this survey, the data for the Torres Strait Islands excludes the NPA Torres Strait communities of Seisia and Bamaga. These communities are included in the ‘rest of Queensland’ due to data availability.

Information presented below is about Torres Strait Islander people (footnote 16) unless otherwise stated.

KEY HIGHLIGHTS FOR THE ISLANDS

  • Most people (78%) had a friend and/or family member outside their household that they could confide in.
  • People living on the Islands reported higher levels of involvement in selected cultural events (such as NAIDOC week), ceremonies or organisations (95%) compared to the rest of Australia (50%).
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NETWORKS AND SUPPORT

Most (78%) Torres Strait Islander people on the Islands had a friend and/or family member outside their household that they could confide in. This was lower than for Torres Strait Islander people in the rest of Queensland (94%). Most people on the Islands felt they were able to get access to general support outside of their household (86%) and in times of crisis (91%). Most people (72%) also provided some form of support to relatives outside the household, such as food or clothing or assisting with money for bills and housing costs.

INVOLVEMENT IN CULTURAL ACTIVITIES

Cultural events, ceremonies, organisations and activities
There was a higher rate of involvement in selected cultural events (such as NAIDOC week), ceremonies or organisations (95%) compared to Torres Strait Islander people in the rest of Queensland (75%), and the rest of Australia (50%). A large majority (91%) of people aged 15 years and over participated in cultural activities (such as making traditional arts or crafts). This was higher than for people living in the rest of Queensland (80%) and the rest of Australia (58%). This high participation in such activities and organisations is a positive indication of the connection Torres Strait Islander people living on the Islands have with their culture, which can have positive effects on social cohesion and the preservation of tradition. Most (90%) people felt they were able to attend or participate in cultural events as often as they wanted. This was similar to people living in Queensland (85%) and other parts of Australia (74%).

Culture taught at school
Around 2 in 3 (68%) people were taught culture at school or as part of further studies - similar to Torres Strait Islander people in the rest of Queensland, but higher than the rest of Australia (39%). The teaching of culture in schools is important for the sharing of cultural heritage across generations and supports cultural wellbeing.

Graph Image for Proportion of Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over that were taught culture at school, 2014-15

Footnote(s): (a) Excludes the mainland Torres Strait communities of Bamaga and Seisia. (b) Excludes Migratory - Offshore - Shipping, No usual address and Other Territories. * The difference between the Torres Strait Islands and the Rest of Australia is statistically significant.

Source(s): 2014-15 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS)



CONNECTION WITH HOMELANDS AND TRADITIONS

Living on homelands
Most people living in the Islands recognise an area as homelands or traditional country (93%). This is much higher than people living in the rest of Queensland (77%) and the rest of Australia (56%). They were also more likely to be living on homelands (85%) than people in the rest of Australia outside of Queensland (18%).

Identification with clan, tribal or language group
The percentage of people who identify with a clan, tribal or language group (80%) was similar to the rest of Queensland (77%) but much higher than the rest of Australia (49%).


Footnotes:

16. Torres Strait Islander includes people who identified as Torres Strait Islander and both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.