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Indigenous Australians: Aboriginal Customs and Cultures

by Michael

The Aboriginal people have been around for thousands of years. They still remain one of the most vibrant, culturally rich and oldest cultures in the world. The Aboriginals are the original inhabitants of Australia that lived on the land long before the arrival of the British during the 18th century. Their way of life was fairly isolated. By some estimates there were millions of Australian people that roamed the territory and surrounding islands of modern day Australia. The following information provides a look into modern Aborigine culture and its influence on Australia.

After the Aborigines migrated into the Australia they established their own unique civilization. The original Aborigines were hunters and gatherers before they became farmers. As their civilization progressed they developed their own unique tribal groups and clans. This pattern of early division led to the many different types of Aboriginal cultures and subcultures that are still remain today. The names of these different tribes and clans include the Torres, Yolgnu, Koorie and the Pintubi. These are but a small fraction of the hundreds of Aboriginal groups that reside in the cities and within the outback of Australia.

Culturally, the Aborigines are not confined to just one language or one group that represents all of the other Aboriginal people. However, some groups such as the Torres are well known and when people outside of Australia talk about the Aboriginal people they usually are referring to the Torres or Strait Islanders.

Most of the Aborigines, regardless of their cultural affiliation, live like most people in Australia and the rest of the world. They have houses, they to go to work and school and they are involved within their communities. While it is true that many people within this group suffer socially from poverty, low education, high unemployment rates, violence and overcrowded homes; a few Aborigine people drive cars, are involved within politics and play sports. Even the Aborigine people that live on the outer fringes of society have smartphones, know about internet computers, watch DVDs and play video games.

Traditionally, the Aborigines believe in a religion known as the Dreaming. This is an Aboriginal belief that connects them with the spiritual world that exists all around them. While Christianity is practiced by some Aboriginals, many of them do still hold to this ancient belief system. Family is a big part of life for the Aborigines. They like having large families and make it a point to live together with many people in one home. This is a major reason as to why overcrowding is such a problem in the cities.

Bush tucker or bush food is considered the cuisine of the Aboriginal people but it is not very popular in Australia or the rest of the world. However, traditional bush food consists of berries, nuts, fish and kangaroo meat. Many of the traditional bush foods by the Aborigines have been mixed with Australian cuisine to create new foods.

Aborigines have created their own television and radio programming for their culture. Alice Springs is the mecca for Aborigine broadcasting. Many of the Aboriginal groups can tune in to watch cultural friendly programming which includes television shows, music videos and news. Aboriginal artwork is now being recognized as some of the best in the world. It is sold internationally and some artists can make a real living by selling their work. Festivals and cultural events are really popular affairs for the Aboriginal people.

The Aborigines like to tell stories and when they do they offer the story tellers gifts for their time and knowledge. These gifts are tokens of respect and appreciation. The gifts do not have to be extravagant but they should be practical for use for the story teller. Normally, the men tell story in Aborigine culture and items such as tobacco, cigarettes and coffee are often accepted as gifts.

The Aborigines have their own languages, slang and inner forms of communication just like any other cultural group. They are constantly trying to balance fitting in with greater society while still maintaining traditional way of life. They fear being consumed by greater Australian society but yet they know that they have grown used to some of the modern conveniences (electricity, television, computers, est.). Regardless of the challenges that they may face the Aborigines are a strong people with a positive outlook in life.

 

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