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Proof of Aboriginality

Please note: AIATSIS cannot comment on, prove or provide confirmation of anyone’s Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander heritage.

Your Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander heritage is something that is personal to you. You do not need a letter of confirmation to identify as an Indigenous Australian.

However, you may be asked to provide proof or confirmation of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander heritage when applying for Indigenous-specific services or programs such as:

  • grants (such as Indigenous housing loans, research and study grants)
  • university courses (with specific positions for Indigenous students)
  • Centrelink and housing assistance (Indigenous-specific)
  • employment (Indigenous identified positions)
  • school programs for Indigenous students.

Government agencies and community organisations usually accept three ‘working criteria’ as confirmation of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander heritage. These are:

  • being of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent
  • identifying as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person
  • being accepted as such by the community in which you live, or formerly lived.

All of these things must apply. The way you look or how you live are not requirements.

Government agencies, universities and schools will often supply you with their particular guidelines and ask you to complete a form or provide a letter of 'Proof' or ‘Confirmation of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Heritage’.