Telling what counts: statistical narratives of Aboriginal experience — ASN Events

Telling what counts: statistical narratives of Aboriginal experience (14663)

Richard Richard Howitt 1 , David Crew 1 , Janice Monk 1 , Stephanie Hull 1
  1. Macquarie University, NSW, Australia

Starting from Jan Monk’s 1965 surveys of social and economic conditions of Aboriginal people in several NSW rural towns, we have reviewed a range of statistical sources with the aim of providing a descriptive account of changing conditions for Aboriginal people in those towns. The eventual aim is to weave these statistical narratives into accounts that encompass policy and community narratives of change. In this paper we discuss the impediments and opportunities that arise in dealing with long term statistical sources to address Aboriginal experience. While early statistical sources present substantial challenges in terms of reliability, comparability and suitability, they do tell a range of important stories and offer some valuable insights. It would be a mistake to think that this is all that counts, but equally, dismissing these sources might miss important opportunities to analyse, explain and narrate Aboriginal experience in more powerful ways.