Home Census Census data helps cultural groups preserve language and culture: Australia

Census data helps cultural groups preserve language and culture: Australia


As part of NAIDOC Week, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) will celebrate the culture, history and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across Australia.

It is also an opportunity to share how cultural groups can use census data to help keep language and culture alive.

Renowned Murray Island Torres Strait Islander cultural group Eip Karem Beizam used census data in grant applications to secure funding.

Vera Havilli is a proud Meriam from Murray Island in Torres Strait, and coordinator of Eip Karem Beizam. She shared her story of how census data helped support the pursuit of culture for the Meriam community living away from Murray Island.

The cultural group has more than 60 members, including professional dancers, weavers, linguists, singers and songwriters. They run cultural programs and language workshops for Meriam people living far from Murray Island.

“Our mission is to ensure that the Meriam people and culture survive for generations to come. We use census data to help us in this mission, ”said Vera.

“Other cultural groups can also use census data to identify opportunities to build a better future. “

Vera also works as the census engagement manager on Thursday Island. Much of his role is to ensure that the communities and islands across the Torres Strait are well informed and prepared to complete the census.

Vera says NAIDOC week is an important time to talk about census participation because it helps provide services and plan for community needs.

“Being counted in the census benefits your community – so it’s important to finish this year,” Vera said.

The next census is Tuesday August 10. Instructions on how to participate will be sent to households in early August. Census staff will be in remote communities in July and August to help people complete their census.


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