Kinship Systems

Kinship is a term that is used to describe how people relate to one other in different cultures. In Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, the concept of kinship is complex, and has wide implications in Indigenous life and social structure. Kinship is a complex system that determines how everyone…

'The Dreaming'

The 'Dreaming' or the 'Dreamtime' is an Indigenous-Australian oral history of the world and its creation. Passed down through generations, these stories commonly feature characters who display undesirable behaviours, and face retribution because of it. In this way, the Dreaming illustrates rules for living and interacting with the natural environment.…

'Aborigine' or Aboriginal - what's the difference?

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, Indigenous, Aboriginal, Aborigine, Blackfella, First Nations or First Australians? The terms have come to take on different meanings to different people, wrapped in the history and politics of the time. While there's not a unanimous view, some words are more appropriate to use than…

Knowledge and Sustainability

When a group of urban university students are asked, “What springs to mind when you think of Aboriginal Australia, past and present?”, a mostly ignorant but well-intentioned chorus respond with those familiar ramblings related to “nomadic life”, conjuring colonial visions of the primitive Other. Architecture, land cultivation and land management,…

Connection to country

Land is of great significance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples - but the connection we feel to country can be a difficult concept for non-Indigenous people to grasp. The living environment goes beyond physical elements, and is fundamental to our identity. For First Australians, “country” encompasses an interdependent…

Indigenous Languages - Avoiding a silent future

In 2002 Big Bill Niedjie passed away, and Indigenous Australian’s lost an outstanding leader. Among the many eulogies voiced by people and organisations across the nation, Northern Land Council chairman Galarrwuy Yunupingu said Big Bill’s constant endeavour to bridge the cultural and historical divide between black and white…

The Stolen Generations

The Stolen Generations refer to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children who were removed from their families by Australian Federal and State government agencies and church missions between 1910 and 1970 through a policy of assimilation. Under this policy, the forcible removal of First Australian children was made legal.…

The 'real Aboriginie' - Diverse Identities

Culture, not colour, is the heart of Aboriginal identity Cathy Freeman’s racial background is Chinese, English and Aboriginal. AAP/ Dean Lewins Victoria Grieves, University of Sydney All too often the matter of Australian Aboriginal identity is decided superficially – by looking at a person’s face and general appearance. Colour…

Deaths in Custody

Deaths in custody: 25 years after the royal commission, we've gone backwards Thalia Anthony, University of Technology Sydney It has been almost three decades since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody tabled its national report. With five volumes of research, investigative accounts of 99 deaths in custody, and…

Race relations

To move forward on reconciliation, Australia must recognise it has a race relations problem Research shows most Indigenous people feel judged, stereotyped and disregarded by white people. AAP/Marianna Massey Daphne Habibis, University of Tasmania; Maggie Walter, University of Tasmania, and Penny Taylor, Larrakia Nation Aboriginal Corporation We know a…