Australia’s Aboriginal culture is the earth’s oldest living culture. We have been around longer than the Egyptians. This truly is an amazing act of resilience. Aboriginal people and their culture have survived through the Ice Age and have out-lived many animal and plant species on one of earth’s driest land masses.
The Aboriginal worldview is centred around three dimensions:
Yindyamarra winhanganha is a Wiradjuri phrase meaning the wisdom of respectfully knowing how to live well in a world worth living in.
The reciprocal relationship between Aboriginal people and the land is connected with all aspects of life including identity, family, language, culture and spirituality.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people identify themselves by their nation. There are over 500 different nations around the continent with distinctive cultures, beliefs and languages. These nations occupied Australia with very different boundaries than today. The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies produced a map in an attempt to represent all the language, tribal or nation groups of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people of Australia.
Note: The information on which the map is based is contested and may not be agreed to by some traditional custodians. The borders between groups do not claim to be exact.
Complex systems interact to form traditional Aboriginal identity and kinship systems.
Traditional Aboriginal Identity is made up of the following:
- Nation: There are over 500 different nations around the continent with distinctive cultures, beliefs and languages.
- Moiety: Everything, including people and the environment, are split into two halves. Each half coexists with the other, along matrilineal and patrilineal lines of descent.
- Totems: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are responsible for natural objects for their Nation, family, themselves, their sex and life-stage. These totems define a persons reciprocal relationships within a group.
- Skin Names: these are determined by blood relations in a sequential system. It also conveys information about how generations are linked. Each nation has its own term for each skin name.
- Language: traditional protocols for communication as well as the relationships, trade and travel between them.
Tracking the Milky Way wishes to acknowledge all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their communities of Australia, and we respect and recognise that they still have a strong continuing connection to their culture, land, water and community.
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Tracking The Milky Way is a Gunawirra Initiative.