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Culture and language

357,500 (74%) Indigenous Australians aged 18 and over recognised homelands or traditional country, in 2018–19
63,753 (10%) Indigenous Australians spoke an Australian Indigenous language as their main language at home in 2016
The most common Indigenous language spoken at home was Kriol (11%), followed by Yumplatok (9%) and Warlpiri (7%), in 2016

Photography by Robert Jones

Overview

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people comprise hundreds of groups that have their own distinct languages, histories and cultural traditions. For Indigenous Australians, connection to culture is a central part of belonging and identity that maintains good health and wellbeing.

Language is a critical part of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures. Knowledge about culture is passed down the generations through language. Indigenous languages represent the diversity and the dynamic nature of Indigenous cultures and identity.

A sustained increase in the number and strength of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages being spoken, by 2031, is one of the targets in the National Agreement on Closing the Gap.

Key facts
314,200

66% of Indigenous Australians aged 18 and over identified with a clan, tribal or Indigenous regional group

415,300

66% of Indigenous Australians were involved in selected cultural events, ceremonies or organisations

112,800

65% of Indigenous children aged 2–14 were being taught about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture at school

109,400

17% of Indigenous Australians understood an Indigenous language

Recognised homelands or traditional country, 2018–19
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