Aboriginal people make up 2.8% of the Australian population. There are many different Aboriginal communities, and 150 languages recorded in the 2016 Census. Moreover, individuals vary in the languages they can speak and understand. In Victoria, 57% of Aboriginal people identify with a clan, tribal or language group.
Within this very diverse community are community leaders who play a significant role in facilitating the participation of Aboriginal people in sport and active recreation. If your sport organisation has a strategic plan to increase participation in your sport by Aboriginal people, then the most important consideration is how you will work with the leaders of Aboriginal communities. Central to this approach, often referred to as ‘community-centred’, is understanding that Aboriginal communities have the right to determine what is most important to them and that they are recognised as the experts regarding their community.
Many Aboriginal people are passionate about sport. After the Siren, a report by Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre, highlights activities which are popular amongst Indigenous people. These activities include running, rugby, swimming, AFL, netball, basketball and soccer. This is comparable to the recent AusPlay national participation survey which showed that these activities are among the top 20 favorite activities of all Australians.
The Australian Human Rights Commission recognises that there is a gap between the health status of Aboriginal people and the broader population of Australia. Physical activity is not the only component which contributes to the health status of Aboriginal people – others include social and emotional well-being, governance, community capability, cultural and spiritual factors – however it can play a role in leading to a positive impact across a few of these areas. Therefore, your sport organisation can make a contribution to the health status of Aboriginal people by working with local communities and providing opportunities for participation in your sport.
The State Sport Association Participation Program evaluation found that the burden of physical inactivity is higher among Aboriginal people.
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The information, advice and resources contained on this page have been developed by Vicsport, using the independent evaluation of the VicHealth State Sport Association Participation Program, and through consultation with VicHealth, Sport and Recreation Victoria, Netball Victoria, Cricket Australia, Surfing Victoria, Canoeing Victoria, and Gippsport.
Share your stories!
If your organisation has a story to share about participation in your sport by Aboriginal people, please feel free to contact Vicsport. We would be happy to provide links to case studies or videos on this page.
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