The Power of Data in Aboriginal Hands

This paper was presented by Professor Mick Dodson on behalf of Peter Yu at the 'Social Science Perspectives on the 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey' conference, 11-12 April 2001, The Australian National University, Canberra. The session title was 'Indigenous perspectives on Indigenous evidence in the social sciences'.

Abstract: Sir Francis Bacon is credited with the quote "knowledge is power". When accepting the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001, Kofi Anna extended Bacon’s dictum into something more meaningful, adding "Information is liberation".

This paper discusses the critical role that data can play in development scenarios when Aboriginal people are in control of collecting, managing and interpreting data. In the current paradigm, data is collected on Indigenous society by governments for their purposes; rather than to support the objectives that Indigenous people want to determine.

Peter Yu is CEO of Nyamba Buru Yawuru Ltd and a Member of the Australian Statistics Advisory Council, The Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Professor Mick Dodson AM is Director, National Centre for Indigenous Studies, The Australian National University.



Date & time

Mon 11 Apr 2011, 12.30–2pm


Haydon-Allen Tank, The Australian National University, Canberra.


Peter Yu

Event series


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