Australian aborigines: names of peoples and their customs

Australian aborigines: names of peoples and their customs

Australian Aborigines have a great role in Australian culture. There are many people, both residents of the country and foreign tourists, who are interested in learning more about the legacy of these peoples.

For this reason, we want you to know more about Australian culture with this article on Australian aborigines, the names of peoples, and their customs. Learn all about them: Australian Aboriginal societies, religion, and symbols.

Who are the Australian Aborigines

The Australian Aborigines are descendants of what were the first people who lived in Australia. Their societies have remained in existence in Australia throughout time-defying technological advancements, European colonization, and any other challenge towards modernization.

Australian Aborigines are classified, along with the Islanders Torres Strait as the indigenous territories of Australia, Tasmania, and nearby islands. In total, its population amounts to about 2.4% of Australia’s total population today.

The Aboriginal culture is one of the oldest still remains alive on Earth. This developed in an autarkic way, which gave rise to a wide range of languages ​​and cultures with common aspects.

Names of Australian Aboriginal People and Their Customs

Within the aboriginal culture, we can differentiate more than 400 Australian aboriginal peoples. Each of them located in a different geographical area and with its own cultural features. Here are the main Australian Aboriginal tribes or peoples :

  • Koori and Guringai: They are located in the southwest of the country, New Wales and Victoria, and like most of the towns that will appear below, the Koori and Guringai tribes base their economy on hunting, cultivation, and the subsequent gathering of fruits.
  • Noongar – Originally divided into 13 different tribes, today most of the culture of the Noongar people, located in southern Western Australia, has been lost.
  • Anangu: this town is located in the northern part of South Australia and in the adjoining parts of North Australia and Western Australia. It is a purely oral culture that is still practiced by about 4,000 Anangus living in small communities.
  • Palawah – Located in Tasmania, this group has subdivisions. Unfortunately, most of the indigenous languages ​​of Tasmania were lost. However, efforts are currently underway to reconstruct one of the languages.
  • Arunta: The Arunta, Arrente, Arrernte, or Aranda are a tribe from the north-central part of the country that lives in the surroundings of the MacDonnell mountain range. The Arunta are divided into 6 subgroups, which in turn are divided into small clans protected by an authoritarian system focused on marriages between families or clans. Polygamy and widespread homosexuality also stand out from this group.
  • Yolngu: The inhabitants of the Yolngu people live in Arnhem Land, in the northeast of Australia. Some communities of this tribe have converted their previously land-based economies to exploiting the sea with the acceptance and use of specialized technology, such as canoes, which have allowed them to improve their hunting activity at sea.

Other Aboriginal tribes of Australia

  • Murri: Australian aboriginal town located in the state of Queensland.
  • Yapa: located in the territory of the central northwest.
  • Yamatji: located in central Western Australia.
  • Nunga: located in South Australia.
  • Wangkai: located in the Golden Fields of Western Australia.

Australian Aboriginal religion

Contrary to what the first Europeans who studied them assumed, Australian Aborigines have spiritual beliefs . In fact, these beliefs, based on dream times and various forms of Christianity, are essential in your daily life and in social relationships.

There is an enormous diversity of rites and cults and all groups share a common vision of the world. Instead of focusing on what lies beyond death, the Aborigines focus on the “before”, what they call the time of the dream or Altjeringa.

The aborigines consider that it was during El Sueño that the landscape that can be seen today was formed. Trees, stars, lakes, mountains, etc .; every formation of nature was created by ancestral spirit totem beings like man-kangaroos or woman-birds that inhabited the dream age.

The aborigines consider that the same spirits that reside in them do so in animals, plants, lakes, rocks, etc., so man is not considered above any other being. Upon dying, spirits leave earthly bodies and return to their spiritual existence. Thus, for the aborigines, everything is related to the natural environment and to past and future generations.

These beliefs help these peoples to face the circumstances of life and to maintain a strong bond with nature , which forms the basis of their vision of the world and their work in it. Finally, it is important to highlight the sacred place of the Australian aborigines: the rock formation of Uluru , also called Ayers Rock . This place has been declared a natural World Heritage Site since 1989 by UNESCO, and a cultural site since 1994.

Symbols of Australian Aborigines

The Aboriginal art typically associated with this time of sleep, totemic representations and storytelling. Female forms and X-ray art are widely used, for example, where the bones and organs of the represented beings can be appreciated.

It is carried out through a wide possibility of means and techniques :

  • Rock engravings
  • Fixed stroke technique
  • Colored tip paint
  • Bark painting
  • Aerial landscape painting
  • Sheet painting
  • Sand painting
  • Woodcarving
  • Stone carving
  • Sculpture
  • Ceremonial clothing

This art has evolved over the years to become contemporary aboriginal art. The Australian aboriginal symbols used today have, in general, and depending on the context, the same meaning in all Australian territories, although similar symbols in their monochrome may have a different meaning depending on the tribe where they are made.

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