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Proof of Aboriginality

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 person.

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:

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

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’.

Why is it so involved?

Indigenous-specific services and programs are intended to address social, health and educational issues that Indigenous people face as the result of past removal policies and inadequate educational, employment and health services. Requesting proof of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander heritage from applicants helps to make sure that this intention is honoured.

How do I obtain proof of my Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander heritage?

Doing your family history may help you obtain proof of your heritage. You might find a birth, death or marriage record that traces your family to a particular Aboriginal station or reserve. Or you might have oral history stories that can connect you to a particular area or person or photograph.

Gather as much information about your family history and heritage as possible.

Tharawal Aboriginal Corporation has a dedicated BTH (Bringing Them Home) full-time worker who will assist you with finding your family, with access to resources that may help you find evidence of your connection to your Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander ancestors.

Whatever your situation, contact our BTH worker who will guide you on your journey to knowing your heritage.

A ‘letter of confirmation’ is usually obtained from an incorporated Indigenous organisation (Tharawal Aboriginal Corporation) and must be stamped with their common seal.

Who to contact
You may need to contact an organisation where your family is from – someone in the community might know or remember your family.
An Indigenous organisation in the area where you currently live may also be able to provide you with this confirmation.
For example, if you live in Canberra and your family is from the Canberra region, you should contact the Ngunnawal Land Council in Queanbeyan. If you live in Canberra but your family is from somewhere else, you should contact the land council in the area your family came from or were best known in.