Aboriginal culture essay


What happens if a language is lost?

Dreaming tracks are sometimes called 'songlines' and record the travels of the Spirit Ancestors who 'sung up' the country into life. It is believed that performing the right songs and ceremonies at points along the Dreaming track gives people direct access to the Dreaming. Many Aboriginal communities travel along Dreaming tracks with their young people, telling the stories of the sites.

They explain and perform ceremonies to educate the young people about their country and their Dreaming. Toas are carved wooden and painted objects once used by the Dieri people who live near Lake Eyre in South Australia. They are thought to have been placed in the ground as directional markers, but their true purpose remains a mystery. Their painted tops take many forms.

The shape of birds heads, animals, objects such as boomerangs or abstract designs. At the turn of the last century, missionaries made large collections of them. We never had to. Our mother, the earth, she gave herself freely to us. And because we respected her and loved her, we never had to go and do all them other things.

That would have been harming our mother. So we just took what she gave us. Indigenous people accumulated a vast store of knowledge of plants and animals and of the foods and medicines they provided. Aboriginal people call these foods and medicines, bush tucker and bush medicine.

There is a huge variety of bush tucker and bush medicine all over Australia for people who know where to find it. The disruption of Indigenous communities and families during the conquest of Australia resulted in the loss of information about collecting, preparing and using bush medicine.

However, as western societies are becoming more and more interested in other forms of healing and natural remedies, efforts are being made to record and publish Indigenous peoples' knowledge of bush tucker and bush medicine. The sea, rivers and waterways of Australia have always played an important role in many Indigenous Australian lives. People first arrived in Australia after crossing 60 kilometres of ocean on crude rafts. They lived along the coasts, then moved inland following rivers an streams.

Over time, a wide variety of boats, rafts and other forms of transport were developed, along with fish spears, harpoons, fish hooks and nets for fishing. It is thought that some fishing and boat building technology to have first been introduced by seafaring peoples from the islands to the north of Australia, while other forms were developed in Australia.


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A variety of tools were developed for hunting and gathering of food. These included spears, boomerangs, clubs, nets, traps, and more recently, rifles. Spears were probably adopted soon after the first Australians arrived in Australia, while boomerangs have been used for at least 10 years. Spear throwers and more elaborate fish and animal traps are more recent, some forms dating back a few hundred or a thousand years. In the past, each cultural group made different types of tools, sometimes painting or incising them with clan designs or personal designs.

Nutritional studies show that much bush tucker is high in nutrients. Some native grain seeds that Aboriginal people grind into flour have far higher levels of iron, zinc and fibre than wholemeal flour or rice, and the wild plum Terminalia ferdinandiana is possibly the world's riches source of vitamin C.

Wellbeing - what Aboriginal people know?- CULTURE

Most bush medicine consists of barks, roots and leaves, but non-herbal materials such as animals and minerals are also used. Bush medicine is often administrated in conjunction with ceremonies. Although many Aboriginal people know remedies for everyday ailments, older women are recognised as the experts in bush medicine. Pemulwuy was the first of the Aboriginal resistance fighters. Between and , Pemulwuy waged a guerrilla war on the young colony of New South Wales. This was in response to the invasion of his country, the killing of his people and the restriction of his peoples' food sources caused by the British.

Pemulwuy planned and carried out several 'lightning' or guerilla attacks against the European settlements in the Parramatta and Toongabbie areas. Pemulwuy was a strong, charismatic leader with a fierce determination to rid his land of the European settlers. He was able to organise his people into a force of more than warriors. The early Governors of the colony recognised Pemulwuy as a threat and sent large parties of soldiers to protect the settlers.

After years of resisting and evading the authorities, Pemulwuy was eventually shot and captured in and died of his wounds shortly after. Pemulwuy's reputation as an elusive and powerful leader was so great, that as proof of his death, his head was removed from his body and placed in a bottle of spirits. There are a thousand blacks there, and if they are not stopped, we may have them presently within the boundaries. Nunn's expedition travelled widely looking for Aboriginal people believed responsible for the 'outrages'. They eventually cornered a group of Aboriginal people at Waterloo Creek and in a 'battle' lasting ten minutes, massacred people.

The exact number is not known. Nunn's party then continued its murderous path for the next three days, killing every Aboriginal person it encountered. On their return journey to Sydney, Nunn and his party were welcomed like heroes by towns along the way.


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  • In early May , 28 Kwiambal people camping on the Myall Creek station, were murdered by a posse of heavily armed men who had been out hunting Aboriginal people. Most of those killed were women and children. Eleven men were eventually arrested and tried for murder on 15 November , amid an atmosphere of anger over white men being tried for murder of Aboriginal people. In summing up the case, the Chief Justice said:.

    Homosexuality and Aboriginal culture: a lore unto themselves - Archer Magazine

    In spite of the overwhelming evidence, the jury found all eleven men not guilty with only 15 minutes deliberation. However, a second trial was ordered amid great public indignation. This time, only seven men were accused. They were found guilty of murder and hanged. They were the first Europeans to be executed for killing Aboriginal people. The gaoled men were not even aware they had broken the law, because killing Aborigines was commonly considered a frontier sport.

    Tasmania is Australia's second oldest colony, therefore its Aboriginal population experienced early effects of colonisation and were constantly on the 'front line' of violence and reprisal. Random killings and massacres of Aboriginal people were commonplace and Aboriginal people responded in kind. The colonial administrators saw the only answer to the problem of racial violence was removal of the Aboriginal people to reserves or islands out of the way of European settlement.

    The strategy involved soldiers and settlers marching through the bush in a closely packed continuous line. They forced the Aboriginal people in front of them, towards the Tasman Peninsula, where they could be rounded up and captured. This massive effort captured two Aboriginal people - one elderly man and a crippled boy. Despite the failure of 'the Blackline' the process of removing Aboriginal people to islands continued.

    On the islands Aboriginal people died in great numbers because of European diseases, poor food and accommodation, ill treatment and, sometimes murder. The Kalkadoon people of the Mt Isa region of western Queensland first came into contact with the advancing European pastoralists and miners in the mid s. At first the Kalkadoon people worked with the Europeans as guides and labourers. But as the number of settlers and their stock increased, the competition for the land's resources became more intense, leading to conflict. The Kalkadoon people began a campaign of guerrilla warfare against the settlers and their stock from about to The Kalkadoon gained a reputation as ferocious warriors with an ability to vanish into the bush.

    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Prisoners in Australia

    In , the Kalkadoon people killed five Native Police and a prominent pastoralist. The Queensland Government responded by sending a large contingent of heavily armed police to confront the Kalkadoon. The Kalkadoon had retreated to a defensive position now known as 'Battle Mountain'. After fierce resistance the Kalkadoon succumbed to the greater firepower of the police.

    It is estimated that Kalkadoon people were killed during the six years that they fought to protect their land. One of the most complex figures of early Aboriginal resistance is Jandamarra. He was a Punuba man who lived in the Kimberley region of northern Western Australia from In his early years he lived and worked as a respected stockman. In after his initiation Jandamarra met an older Punuba man called Ellemarra and became more aware of the problems being caused by the settlers and their sheep. In there was a serious drought and the Punuba people were suffering. This was because of the arrival of the Europeans and their sheep had destroyed much of the food and water supplies that the Punuba protected to help them in times of drought.

    As a result the Punuba needed to hunt sheep to live. Ellamarra, still considered a young man by his people, knew a lot about the Punuba law and was greatly respected by the younger men. Ellemarra was a natural leader - a good warrior and he was not afraid to stand up to the invaders. He taught Jandamarra and the other young men much about their law. Jandamarra and Ellemarra were captured in when Jandamarra walked up to a number of police troopers he knew, and they tricked him into guiding them to his campsite. Jandamarra didn't know that he was wanted by the police. His old employer had laid charges against him for killing a sheep in May , annoyed that Jandamarra had not return to the station after his initiation.

    The police dropped the charges against him and he returned to stock work. He eventually became a police tracker. He later helped police capture Ellemarra and 16 other Punuba warriors. Jandamarra was scorned by his people for helping the police capture Ellemarra, so he assisted Ellemarra and the other warriors to escape. During the escape, Jandamarra shot a policeman. He joined the band of escapees and began a campaign to rid the area of European settlers. Colonial authorities responded by sending 30 police to capture Jandamarra and the band.

    In the battle that followed at Windjana Gorge Jandamarra was injured but managed to escape. He continued to taunt police and was soon believed immortal by his people.

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    His campaign came to an end in when, after another skirmish with police, he was tracked and shot dead by an Aboriginal trooper. Skip to main content Skip to acknowledgement of country Skip to footer On this page They have the right, the same as my mother, to watch over me, to control what I'm doing, to make sure that I do the right thing.

    It's an extended family thing It's a wonderful secure system. Learn about Indigenous family relationships Toggle content. The Elders Elders bridge the past and the present and provide guidance for the future. Family Ties. In Aboriginal Society the family unit is very large and extended, often with ties to the community Having that family unit broken down has just opened the floodgates for a lot of problems, a lot of emotional problems, mental and physical turmoil. If you want to use a really hard term to describe the impact that removal of Aboriginal children has had on Aboriginal families,'attempted cultural genocide' is a good phrase.

    Libesman eds Reed international Books, Passing the Culture to Children - Storytelling In Aboriginal Australian society storytelling makes up a large part of everyday life. Storytelling today Today storytelling in Indigenous Australia is still a very important way of passing on information to people. Toys Indigenous children across Australia often make their own toys, and like children everywhere, they are incredibly resourceful. Games String games are common in both Indigenous and non-Indigenous cultures around the world.

    The stolen generation Toggle content. They just came down and say, "We taking these kids". They just take you out if your mothers arms. That's what they done to me. I was still at my mother's breast when they took me. Alec Kruger, What is Link Up? Toggle content. Well there was nine of us in the family, old Lambert came along and said: "You can't look after these kids by yourself Mrs Clayton", but we were for months without welfare coming near us.

    We had the two grandmothers and all our uncles and aunties there and our father's brothers were there. We weren't short of an extended family by any means. We never went without anything. But they still took us away.

    A troubling presence

    What right did they have? I am still seeking answers to [my] family's removal. Government Institutions for Children Toggle content. Kinchela Kinchela is a 13 hectare area of fertile land at the mouth of the Macleay River on the mid-north coast of New South Wales. Kinchela closed down in , when the Aboriginal Welfare Board was finally disbanded. Social Justice. Social justice is what faces you in the morning. It is awakening in a house with adequate water supply, cooking facilities and sanitation.

    It is the ability to nourish your children and send them to school where their education not only equips them for employment but reinforces their knowledge and understanding of their cultural inheritance. It is the prospect of genuine employment and good health: a life of choices and opportunity, free from discrimination. What is social justice? Non-Aboriginal Australia has developed on the racist assumption of an ingrained sense of superiority that it knows best what is good for Aboriginal people.

    Redfern Park Speech Toggle content. Imagine if ours was the oldest culture in the world and we were told that it was worthless. Imagine if we had resisted this settlement, suffered and died in the defence of our land, and then were told in history books that we had given it up without a fight. Imagine if non-Aboriginal Australians had served their country in peace and war and were then ignored in history books.

    Imagine if our feats on the sporting field has inspired admiration and patriotism and yet did nothing to diminish prejudice. Imagine if our spiritual life was denied and ridiculed. Imagine if we had suffered the injustice and then were blamed for it. Social Justice - keeping score Toggle content. Population Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations comprise just over 1. Health Indigenous Australians are ten times more likely to suffer from diabetes mellitus than non-Indigenous Australians.

    Employment In , the unemployment rate for Indigenous Australians was nearly three times that of the national average. Employment rate in Indigenous Australian Housing Over 30 percent of Indigenous Australian family dwellings are 'over-occupied', by national standards. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Dispossession and Health Toggle content.

    I thought that's a real indictment upon Australia, that Aboriginal people living in an advanced country, have third world health problems. Aboriginal incomes are generally lower than the average for other Australians. Aboriginal children are typically lighter in weight and shorter than non-Aboriginal peers. Controlled by the State Toggle content. Nothing could have prepared my mother for the experience of reading her files.

    The first entry in and the last - 32 years of surveillance. Albert Namatjira Albert Namatjira was an Arrente man from the Hermansburg mission in west Alice Springs, who became known nationally for his paintings of Central Australia. Reference: Horton, D, Aboriginal Encyclopedia. Reproducing the stereotypes Toggle content. White Australians basically are racist. Racism stems from what you see on TV. Not seeing an Aboriginal family in these productions is part of that. It's all right to have a black American family in there, that's fine, but not a black Australian. But you can't paint a black picture if you only use white paint.

    Aboriginal Deaths in Custody Toggle content. Australia must know the truth behind the deaths or else we must forever live with the knowledge that our fear of the truth or our misguided sense of priorities caused us to abandon an essential and momentous decision to examine a little of our national character and the behaviour of people in authority. Asking an Aboriginal what he or she regards as the important factors underlying deaths in custody often elicits as a first reply "racism" Governments claim they have implemented the recommendations but the stories of Indigenous people who died tell otherwise.

    Failure to implement [the Royal Commission's] recommendations within the criminal justice system is a major cause of continuing deaths. Community Service Alternatives to Custody Toggle content. Two Systems of Law "Colonial law has been a reality in Australia since Reconciliation Toggle content. We have extended our hand to other Australians.

    Those Australians who take our hand are those who dare to dream of an Australia that could be. In true reconciliation, through the remembering, the grieving and the healing, we become as one in the dreaming of this land. This is about us and our country, not about the petty deliberations of politics. We must join hands and forge our future.

    Will you take our hand? Will you dare to share our dream? Cultural heritage. One of the reasons they have survived for so long is their ability to adapt to change. Heritage : that which comes or belongs to one by reason of birth. Maintaining one's culture, values and traditions is beyond price. Human beings cannot live without that. We are glad to share our culture with Europeans and other migrants but we will never give them up. Getano Lui, jnr, Thursday Island, Today, Indigenous communities keep cultures alive by: passing their knowledge, arts, rituals and performances from one generation to another speaking and teaching languages protecting cultural property and sacred and significant sites and objects.

    The Oldest Living Culture Toggle content. We've been here a long, long time Koori Mail, October Archaeological Sites Toggle content. Lake Mungo, western New South Wales Lake Mungo in western New South Wales is a site of great Aboriginal and archaeological importance, containing material dated to at least 33, years ago. A Changing Culture Toggle content. Indigenous cultures changing through time Archaeological evidence shows that Indigenous cultures have developed and altered a number of times as a result of changes in the environment such as rise in sea level and drying out of the continent.

    Influences on Indigenous cultures Aboriginal people were in contact with other cultures, sharing ideas and skills long before permanent European occupation in Indigenous 'multiculturalism'. The population of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities is extremely diverse in its culture with many different languages spoken.

    Think of the Kimberly region of Western Australia Shields Shields were made by men and used in ceremonies, dances and occasionally in defensive combat. Baskets Baskets, bags and other containers are usually made by women but are used by both sexes mainly for food gathering. European misunderstanding of Aboriginal life The complexity and richness of Aboriginal cultures was poorly understood by the majority of early colonists. Contemporary Arts Toggle content. Bangarra Dance Company Traditionally Aboriginal ceremonies have always blended dance and drama with music and visual art forms.

    Bangarra's mission is: "to maintain the link, with respect and integrity, between the traditional Indigenous cultures of Australia and new forms of contemporary artistic expression, giving voice to social and political issues which speak to all people. Living Languages Toggle content. It is a mistake to dismiss our languages as part of history, and long gone. They're not. They are alive and vibrant. They are in a new phase of growth.


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    They're part of us as the Indigenous people of the land. In the early prints of artists Peg Maltby and Brownie Downing, endearing Aboriginal children are orphaned by the bush rather than being at home in the country of their birthright. They find playmates with baby native animals but are divested of family and community. They seem to be crying out for the care that only the state, it was thought, could properly provide.

    Some of these figures were mass-produced in Japan and thus recycle African-American child figures in souvenirs destined for Australian tourist towns. As historians have argued, the trade in piccaninny figures peaked at the height of the policy of removing Aboriginal children from their families. Those sweetly smiling babies must have offered some indemnity to white people against the knowledge that a state-wielded crime of cataclysmic proportions was unfolding. At the same time, portraits of the star of the film Jedda , Rosalie Kunoth-Monks who became an activist and one of our more stirring orators , were printed on ceramic dishes.

    Her wares and illustrated books are still dotted through antique markets and vintage stores and much valued, perhaps more so now with a sense of knowing irony. The figures found in Aboriginalia evoke a troubling presence, in which visual appeal, sometimes libidinal, stands in for the profound ambivalence at the heart of settler-colonialism, which has benefited from the violent dispossession of a people. While townships were campaigning to exclude Aboriginal kids from schools, families from housing and adults from pubs, these nostalgic, perplexing images were being taken into white homes in the form of bric-a-brac.

    On a number of missions and stations, residents were encouraged to produce and decorate implements for the tourist markets. As such there were many Aboriginal producers of souvenirs and Aboriginal ephemera, such as the potters at Hermannsburg. Today the descendants of Onus and the workers he trained continue to make an invaluable contribution to Australian arts.

    These objects, he suggests, gave some expression to the sadness surrounding dispossession and removal. Thus it is finally being historicized, interpreted and recast through Aboriginal eyes. Deacon uses dolls and kitsch ephemera from her own extensive collection to turn the tables on the uncritical consumption of racist imagery. In one of her best backhanders, she puts plastic, black babies in cupcake shells and titles the photograph Adoption. The work references Aboriginal child removal but also the 19th-century denigration of Aboriginal mothers as not only infanticidal but cannibals — of their newborns.

    These lonely little babies are proffered as edible. Deacon ties the white consumption of black babies to the acquisitive impulse of settlers for black babies that led to state welfare and protection boards removing Aboriginal children en masse. Albert, meanwhile, has used Aboriginalia to create murals. Albert describes his work as a reclamation of these objects. The people muted by Aboriginalia are speaking through them to assert that culture has been central to their persecution.

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    The war memorial, mind you, also rejects the notion of frontier wars as part of our foundational story. But he wondered if there would have been complaints if a white woman had been so displayed. I think they should be recast from an Aboriginal perspective. Local Indigenous artists could be invited in to respond to the memories evoked by them.

    They could then add their lived experience of being Aboriginal and literally put themselves in the picture. I am very proud of my collection. Every piece I bought was beautiful and I am happy to call it mine. I remember one day I opened up one of my parcels and the image on the dish was a campfire scene with a family. The significance of this image for me as an Aboriginal woman is one of pride and honour.

    I belong to this Mob. In my hand I held a spiritual and cultural link to the past. Sally Brand SB : There is a common assumption that Aboriginal people have had no involvement other than being depicted in these objects. Initially, the concept of colonisation will be explained, including the forces that were driving the colonisation and the usual. Dominant and Subordinate Cultures Some of the greatest assaults committed on particular cultures have been with good intentions.

    In some cases, the cultures just may have different viewpoints as to what is right, or best in that specific situation. For the Australian Aboriginals, the greatest assault may. The best strategies to achieve change are found by looking at key moments of change in the past and using them to guide exploration in a current context. This essay aims to explore movements for growing awareness of Aboriginal history, solidarity and depth of scholarship in the past to then answer the questions of what are the key areas for change today.

    By taking a critical look at history, I am to discuss the potential for change today, centered. Cultural values such as kinship, connection to their land and spirituality are foremost in understanding the complexity of Aboriginal identity Albrecht , p. Indigenous Australians specifically during the Referendum and to a lesser extent, the Vietnam War.

    Through a close reading of the passage, this essay will explore. This essay will analyze a social problem in Australia through a sociological perspective.

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    The paper will investigate the content about inequality in Australia that is covered in news media articles and journal sources. Focus will be on inequality in the Australia and the application of conflict theory in relation to this social problem. The essay will begin with a detailed description of the social problem facing Australia followed. This essay will discuss on how most Indigenous peoples have suffered as a result of colonisation.

    This essay will firstly focus on colonisation of indigenous peoples, when and who was involved in doing so.

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