Aboriginal People of Australia
“[It’s] not about skin color, it’s about applying what you think. It is a tradition passed down from generation to generation. “Only 30% of the Australian community socializes with indigenous people. Where are the majority of Australians who have an idea about Australia’s natives? Media? The government? History books maybe? We believe this is important to better understand each of Australia’s indigenous and non-native, beyond myths and clichés. Well, the first thing to think about is who are the natives of Australia?
The natives of Australia are descendants of people who lived in the surrounding islands and Australia before the Europeans were colonized. There are many different languages, cultures, and beliefs between Aboriginals and the Torres Strait Island community. So when we speak of “Indians of Australia” we use a collective name originally referring to hundreds of varieties.
Around 700 languages were spoken by different indigenous groups across Australia during the colonization period. Some of these languages are still spoken in indigenous communities. Many indigenous cultures adapt and survive colonization, while others are being revived and reclaimed. So, whether you’re in the city or the forest, indigenous culture is alive all over Australia.
What makes someone native?
Many Australians assume that to be a native, a person has to look or act in a certain way. For example, usually, native Australians are expected to have dark skin, live in remote areas, and elite athletes. Unfortunately, there is also the assumption that indigenous people should be dysfunctional, charity dependent, addicted to violence, or alcohol. These are stereotypical beliefs; It is extremely hurtful. They also add to the confusion about who indigenous people are.
Who are indigenous people according to the government?
The Australian government is looking for three characteristics to determine whether a person is native. According to this definition, if a person is native:
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent
- Must be identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.
- He (male or female) must be recognized by the Indigenous Community in which he lives.
Listening Through Aboriginal Mouths
To understand who the Aborigines are, we have to listen to what the Indigenous People are saying. We must remember that indigenous people are diverse – being indigenous means different things to different people. For many, being a native means being connected to the city, society, and culture.
The following excerpts from the language of the Indigenous People express what it means to be an indigenous person living in Australia.
“Our culture connects with our lands and our relatives. We know who we are, what kind of relationships we have formed in our clone groups or other clone groups around Tanami. Therefore, we need to know who we are, what skin color we have, which country we belong to. “
Lynette, Walpiri, Lajamanu, NT
“If you are an Aboriginal person then you have a soul. We cannot deny this. Our entire history, everything that makes us Aboriginal, is linked to spirituality. “
Kyle, Bundjalung Cultural Leader, NSW
“Aboriginality, spirituality, connection, and culture are not about the color of your skin, but the practice of what is being taught, a tradition passed down from generation to generation. “
Jamie, Perl Whuurrang Gunditjmara and Gunnar Cultural Leader, VIC
“I represent my ancestors and a religious-cultural view of the world.“
Andrew Johnson, Walpiri, Lajamanu, NT
Where do Aboriginals live?
Today, indigenous people make up 3% of Australia’s population. New South Wales has the highest indigenous population (208,500 people), while the Northern region has the highest indigenous population (30% of the Northern region population). As these statistics indicate, despite common misperceptions that indigenous people live only in remote communities, one-third of indigenous Australians live in large cities.