Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Relations in Churches

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This paper uses data from the 2016 National Church Life Survey to chart the attitudes and activities of church attenders and leaders, regarding Indigenous and non-Indigenous relations, within churches as well as in Australian society.


Indigenous and non-Indigenous relations in Australia are a core part of our nation’s history and are an important element in ongoing national and cultural debates about identity and belonging. Christian churches share in the good and the bad of this national story, a story still in the making.

The 2016 NCLS invited church attenders and leaders to reflect on the state of these relations within churches as well as on current issues such as questions of treaty, constitutional recognition and government intervention to improve life outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Attenders and leaders were also asked what actions they and their churches were taking to further reconciliation and relationship building with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Authors: Steve Bevis, Miriam Pepper, Ruth Powell


Bevis, S., Pepper, M. & Powell, R. (2018). Indigenous and non-Indigenous relations in churches. NCLS Research Occasional Paper 33. Sydney: NCLS Research.