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Australia is a continent with a long, rich Indigenous history. They were among the First Peoples to leave Africa and travel down the coasts of India and Asia before arriving in Australia. Learning about their rich culture means you open a new lens to see the world. Now, it’s time for you to immerse yourself in the rich culture of Aboriginal Culture in Australia.
History of Aboriginal in Australia
Who are Aboriginal Australians? They are often called Indigenous Australians, but the term is controversial because it may be used to describe those descended from those who weren’t the country’s first settlers.
A person who identifies as Torres Strait Islander or Aboriginal and is acknowledged as such by the community in which they live is considered a legally Aboriginal Australian. Many Aboriginal people firmly assert that they have always been in this country. They are informed of this history and their place within it through their ancestors and traditions.
However, a genetic study suggested that the Aboriginal Culture in Australia history dates back to around 50,000 years ago. They moved from Africa to Australia in a group of more than 100 people paddling on a raft. However, there is the possibility that modern humans may have left Africa earlier than 50,000 years ago.
An archeological site in northern Australia, Madjedbebe, is one of the most significant probable early sites for the Aboriginal Australia origins. The most recent estimate of a human presence here dates back over 65,000 years. This date is now widely reported in a wide variety of publications.
The Population of Aboriginal in Australia
When European settlers came to the country in 1788, there were around 750,000 Aboriginal people living there. Soon, thousands of them perished from illnesses, and many more were slain deliberately by the colonists. Today, 745,000 or approximately 3% of Australians are of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ancestry, with the majority residing in NSW.
At the time of colonization, there were more than 500 Aboriginal tribes in Australia, with each tribe having separate or related clans in size from 5 to 40. Each tribe has its territory, language, and culture.
Many Aboriginal people in Australia today reside far from their ancestral lands. Most live in towns, cities, and other urban regions. Yet still, they have preserved their identity and culture through the existing Aboriginal communities.
Being an Aboriginal in Australia today, of course, has its challenges. They still suffer from a mix of issues due to the past of colonialism. These challenges include economic disparity, lower life expectancy, lack of medical care, high crime rates, etc.
However, growing up Aboriginal in Australia doesn’t always mean victimhood. It’s about bravery and resilience to preserve and succeed in the face of adversity. Andrew Forrest, for example, is one of the many influential Aboriginal people in the land of Australia. He is even regarded as the wealthiest Aboriginal for all his endeavours.
The Aboriginal Culture in Australia
Being an Aboriginal in Australia means one has their own view of the world that often differs from the mainstream. Below are some interesting facts about the diverse culture of Aboriginal Australians.
The Australian Aboriginal flag was introduced in the 1970s. Its colors stand for the many facts of Aboriginal culture. The red signifies the earth and the people’s bond with their land, the yellow symbolizes the sun, and the black represents the Aboriginal people.
Many Aboriginal Australians still experience many challenges today, including discrimination and inequality. UN has declared rights of Aboriginal people that cover four fundamental principles, including self-determination, equality and non-discrimination, respect for and preservation of culture, and involvement in decision-making.
It has been estimated that around 250 Australian Aboriginal languages with 600 different dialects existed during the colonial invasion. However, only about 120 languages are still used today, and many are considered endangered.
The Aboriginal Australian religion is called ‘Dreamtime.’ It’s a general term to describe the complex correlation of Aboriginal spiritual beliefs, events that have occurred, how the cosmos came into being, and how people are made.
Art (Dance, Music & Instruments)
The rock painting of Aboriginal Australian art is one of the world’s earliest art forms. Colors, styles, and symbols are employed to tell a story. Aboriginal Australia music is as essential as its art, for each song represents a living map of the land. The music is always accompanied by Didgeridoo, one of the most popular Australian instruments.
Apart from Didgeridoo, Yidacas is also played by musicians. Only the dignitaries are allowed to play the Yidacas. They are also in charge of altering the song rhythms and choreographing the Aboriginal Australia dance, in which the dance was performed to give thanks to nature.
Before modernization, elders were essential to any authentic Aboriginal Australia education environment because they were the custodians of tradition, stewards of thousands of years of culture, wise ones, and teachers.
Traditionally, Aboriginal people in the past did not wear any attire. The requirement for clothing was dependent on the seasons and climates. The Aboriginal Australia clothing in colder areas usually would consist of animal skins with the fur side in.
Why Are Aboriginal Peoples Important?
Aboriginal culture is comprehensive and is characterized by its strong ties to family, language, community, and land. These form the foundation for various aspects of life, including individual well-being, social, and economic.
Aboriginal people are obligated from birth to take good care of their land to benefit present and future generations. On the other hand, the land also sustains their lives in many aspects, including physically, spiritually, culturally, and socially.
Aboriginal Australians have essential contributions to constructing and implementing the required solutions for environments. Their heritage and traditional knowledge can benefit the environmental evaluations and the management of a sustainable ecosystem.
For instance, consuming traditional food offers significant advantages for the environment. It also contributes to a sustainable diet that can also fight against climate change. To achieve all these, acknowledging the rights of Aboriginal people has to be at the top of the list because they have importance in a global sense.
The existence of Aboriginal Culture in Australia in today’s age and era is as essential as non-Aboriginals. Providing them with decent protection and human rights means sustaining the biodiversity of the planet earth. Their 65,000-year knowledge and culture should also be preserved so they can benefit humankind’s present and future life.