cartoon of young Aboriginal people

Working with Aboriginal young people

Common myths

Myth 1: All Aboriginal people have dark skin

Many Aboriginal people have fairer skin. Because of the Stolen Generations some Aboriginal people do not openly talk about the fact that they are Aboriginal. In areas such as Western Sydney whole communities were broken up and Aboriginal people were expected to assimilate with the broader community. Some Aboriginal people may also fear racism and discrimination.

Because of the Stolen Generations, some Aboriginal people were referred to as "half caste" or "quarter caste". These terms were linked to an assimilation policy that aimed to "breed out" Aboriginality. Avoid these terms as they are offensive to Aboriginal people.

Some Aboriginal people are continually questioned as to whether they are really Aboriginal.

Aboriginality is the most important part of identity for Aboriginal people. It is offensive to question someone about whether they are really Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander based on your assumptions of what an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person looks like.

Myth 2: The proportion of the population who are Aboriginal is decreasing

The proportion of people who are Aboriginal is increasing.

Population experts predict that the percentage of all children (0-14 years) who are Aboriginal will increase from 4.7% in 2002 to 7.6% in 2022. 1

Aboriginal young people (15-24 years) currently comprise 3.25% of the youth population. This figure will at least double over the next twenty years. 1