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Aborigines

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Introduction

The Indigenous People are the natives in Australia. The Whites called them Aborigines. Those people are the original habitants of Australia.

They conserve the wisdoms of the land in ceremonies and songlines. In stories and paintings they tell about the history the dreamtime - the creation of all things. They lived as hunters and gatherers because they did not know cereals or rice. The earth was not suitable for agriculture. They know to life with the country. They do not want to conquer it.

Naming the Natives

Tasmanians native

Old Name: Aborigines

Earlier the natives were called "Aborigines". The word have it's origin in ab origine (latin) = native one live / originally : fabulous tribe nation of Latin (landscape Latium in Italy, today "Lazio" with capital Rom). Denotation of the Australian native people by the white ones. It was about a typical name of the Australian natives by the whites, at least since the landing of James Cook in the Botany Bay. This natives call themselves differently, depending on area.

This is a small overview of some peoples:

Name Region
Koori Southeast
Murri South of Queensland
Ngarinjin Westaustralia, Near Derby
Nanga Southaustralia
Nyungar Southwest of Australia
Wonghi Deserts in the west
Yolngu Arnhem Land

However, the meanings are comparable as "people" or "nation". You can load a larger list of known peoples which contains more than 100 names.

New Name: Indigenous People

Quoting: The Indigenous People and Racial Policy

Open bible 01 01.svg  Quote - Dieter Tischendorf, 2007 (Translation in English)

[...] And here is the best place to say, that the term "Aborigine" is a kind of indignity. This term to name the natives was established by the white people. Whith establishing this term the whites did not want any kind of indignity. It should remember the fabulous tribe nation of Latin.

The natives tell us that the short-term "Abo" is not polite. They ask for not using the term "Aborigine" anymore. They agree to a new term "Indigenous People". Be careful if you want to use the old term "Aboriginal" furthermore. The adjective written with a capital "Aboriginal" is ok. And the term "Aboriginal People" describes the natives of Australia. In this comparison to the lowercase term "aboriginal people(s)" like describing the natives in other countries. The lowercase "a" is a deep indignity for the Australian natives.

[...]

Great Australian tourist companies only use now the term "Aboriginal People" or "Australian natives".

The natives in Australia want to delete the supraregional term "Aboriginal" completely. [...]

Open bible 01 01.svg  Quote - Dieter Tischendorf, 2007 (Original in German)

[...] Und hier ist dann wohl auch die richtige Stelle anzuführen, dass die von den Weißen eingeführte Bezeichnung Aborigine für die Ureinwohner als Beleidigung gilt. Dabei war der Name, der sich vom Lateinischen „ab origine“ (Ureinwohner) ableitet und an jenes sagenhafte Stammvolk der Latiner erinnert, nicht als abwertend oder beleidigend gedacht.

„Abo“ wird von den Ureinwohnern sogar offiziell als hochgradig unkorrekte Bezeichnung betrachtet. Des Weiteren gibt es deren Forderung, dass Begriffe wie Aboriginie nicht mehr verwendet werden sollen. Man hat sich auf die Bezeichnung „Indigenous People“ (einheimisches Volk) geeinigt. Wenn man den Begriff „Aboriginal“ noch verwenden will, muß man aufpassen. Als Adjektiv ist „Aboriginal“ großgeschrieben, politisch korrekt. Also bezeichnet „Aboriginal People“ die Ureinwohner Australiens, zum Unterschied zu „aboriginal people(s)“ in anderen Ländern. Die Verwendung als Substantiv oder mit kleinem „a“ stellt für die Ureinwohner eine Beleidigung dar.

[...]

Auch einige große Australientouristikunternehmen verwenden im englischen Sprachgebrauch nur noch die Begriffe „Aboriginal People“ oder „australische Ureinwohner“.

Die australischen Ureinwohner selbst versuchen durch die vermehrte Betonung der Selbstbezeichnungen, die auch überregional sein können, den Begriff „Aboriginal“ gänzlich zu umgehen. [...]

Listen how to pronounce "indigenous".

The natives flag

The flag of the natives

The flag was developed by Harold Joseph Thomas in 1971. It says that he didn't have any thoughts about the color-formation for himself. However, today, following established interpretations are applicable to it:

The yellow circle in the middle symbolizes the hot sun. The red low area shows the burnt red earth. The black upper part represents the nightly black heaven. The black heaven could indicate the absent of air pollution in the Outback.
(Alternatively, but incorrectly, the black part is interpreted as symbol of the dark skin - the color - of the natives.)

In court, the official colors, design and origin were confirmed: [1]

The Dreamtime

Rockpainting at Ubirr Rock
Notes of: Die Entstehung des Tals der Wupper (The Origin of the Wupper Valley) as the entire image

The Dreamtime (also: "Creation time") sets up an important role in mythology of Australian Indigenous People. It is the creation which determined the beginning of time many million years ago. With fantasy the term dream time is not to be confused, already this English denotation "Dreamtime" is not correct speaking. In the languages of the Indigenous People, it is mentioned "Altjeringa", "Tjurkurrpa" or "Palaneri".

Rather, the time of the origin of all things should be characterized with the term Dreamtime. The Indigenous People remember in many rites to this time in which life began and the "things" came from the inner one of earth or the sky to the surface. Not only the people but also the animals, mountains and plants, just every available "existence".

The ceremonies held by the Indigenous People should provide them with vigour of the ancestors in order to continue the Dreamtime.

The Paintings

Paintings 30.000 years old (from the dream time?) were found, incorporated in rocks. You can find a lot of rock-paintings in the Kakadu Nationalpark. Some basic symbols you find in lots of pictures.

In the Kakadu Nationalpark are very well preserved rock-paintings to view for tourists. Into the weather-protected rock of the Ubirr Rock and the Nourlangie Rock, the old artworks of the natives could withstand the huge strengths of the weathering. The rock-paintings of the Indigenous People were revealed to beginning of the 1980er years by archaeologists. They estimates that the natives used the rock there as shelter 20000 to 6000 years ago.

The Kangaroo-Hunt and Nabulwinjbulwinj are good examples for rockpaintings an the telling of stories. The most famous rockpainting my be Nabulwinjbulwinj. Another example of an image in the style of X-Ray painted on bark is The Emu. The Killing of Lumaluma was painted on bark, too. But it is in the style of telling stories.

The Music

Didgeridoo

Traditionally produced and painted Didgeridoo

The famous music-instrument called "Didgeridoo" may not be missed here. The names of this wind-instrument was shaped by the European immigrants and was written in a type phonetic spelling. With the sound of the word "Didgeridoo", the immigrants wanted to imitate the sound of the instrument. This version of the name-origin disagrees with the (very likely wrong) widespread version that the word "Didgeridoo" is originated from one of the languages of the natives. The "Didgeridoo is a Termites hollowed out bole in the form of a tube made of the wood of Eucalyptus plants. It finds the musical origin in the north in the Arnhemland finally then found application all over Australia at rites and dances.


Aboriginal artist and musician Jeremy Donovan playing didgeridoo. For more information about Jeremy, his artwork, music, and live multimedia presentations, please visit: www.jeremydonovan.com.au



This is a musical example playing a Didgeridoo: (Copyright EDV Düsseldorf )

Download

More about the Didgeridoo you can read in in the German Wiki at Didgeridoo - Legend, Cult and Present Time. (Text only available in German!)

Clapstick

The Clapsticks are another music-instrument made of the wood of eucalyptus, too. They are played together with the Didgeridoo. My Clapsticks have a length of 23cm. Others may have a length between 20cm and 30cm. By clinking the sticks together they produce a nice rhythmical sound. In general you call this music-instrument Clave.

Two painted Australian Clapsticks

The Fire

After a bushfire in the Purnululu Nationalpark

Like in history time the fire is also used today for the cooking of meals for the natives. In the many thousand year of old history, however, it was used also for signals, when hunting requires for medical attendance and as cleaning in form of bushfires.

Bill Neidjie (Bunitj clan, indigenous traditional owner, about 1920-2002) expresses the necessity of fire with these words. The natural ones and man-made fires clean the earth and put the basis for new fertile country. The bushfires are so important, that them are even held on to in the calendar:

Open bible 01 01.svg  Quote - Bill Neidjie, Book: Kakadu Man 1985

This earth, I never damage.
I look after. Fire is nothing, just clean up.
When you burn, new grass coming up.
That means good animal soon,
might be goanna, possum, wallaby.
Burn him off, new grass coming up, new life all over.

After a bushfire in the Carnarvon Nationalpark

Told in a dreamtime legend: (Text only available in German!)

As told in a Dreamtime Story a crow was burn to death after it stole fire. The crow wanted to make the fire available for all people and clans. But there is also told another story why the crow is black (Text only available in German!). In a lot of myths it it told how fire was stolen because it was so important. Due to this reason the crow must not stole the fire and the crow had to burn in it. Because the time for a fire for all people was to early. Later the fire belongs to the women of the Arnhem Land. Their sons tried to stole it again. Than all the man were transfered into cocodiles. At that time the fire belong to the crocodiles. After a log raid of the rainbow bird it was available für all people and clans.

There is another story telling the origin of fire (Text only available in German!).

Historical Contracts

It is unbelievable, which terms were negotiated in the contracts in the 2nd half of this 20th century. The natives fight for basic human rights. They fight for rights, that are completely obvious for us.

Remarkable at first ist the Bark Petition of 1963. The indigenous people fought for their legal rights in the Arnhem Land. Later in 1988 they write the Barunga Statement. Fighting for their basic legal rights concerning to international agreements.

Interesting in this context is the movie "Long Walk Home" beeing discussed here in the forum. (Text only available in German!)

Information about the situation of the natives

Articles of the Society for Threatened Peoples

Kevin Rudd's speech at 13/02/2008 about the Stolen Generation
Poster about the speech of Kevin Rudd at 13/02/2008

Political change in November 2007-2013

New Government im November 2007

At the 24.11.2007, John Howard (conservative) and Kevin Rudd (labour) fought for the government. Kevin Rudd was the winner of the election. The political situation is very important for the natives. Because of this you can listen to both speaches of them:

Farewell speech of John Howard:

Download / 2,9MB / 12:58Min.

Inaugural speech of Kevin Rudd:

Download / 4,5MB / 19:45Min.

Kevin Rudd's speech at 02/13/2008 about the Stolen Generation: We say sorry

The Apology to the Stolen Generation of Australia at 02/13/2008 by Primeminister Kevin Rudd. You can read his speech.

"We say sorry":

Download / 1,79MB / 3:55Min.

The complete speech:

  • The ABC broadcast 'The Apology to the Stolen Generations of Australia' live from Canberra Parliament House on Wednesday, February 13 on ABC1 and ABC Online from 8.55am in NSW, Victoria, ACT and Tasmania.

New Government in 2010 and 2013

After Julia Gillard got Primeminister in 2010, Kevin Rudd got back Primeminister again at 27.06.2013.

See also

Internal Links

External Websites

General

  • Aboriginal Australia Art & Culture Centre: Information on Aboriginal Art & artists, australian aboriginal culture, didgeridoo, history and language.
  • Yirrkala Arts: "This is letting you know so you will learn from us. Learn from these words like we have learnt from you. Your knowledge, your education, your background, we are using it. Some of the law and some of the culture of yours. OK and in the same way you must learn..."
  • taz.de: UN-Declaration about natives. (Text only available in German!)
  • Noongar: The Noongar (alternate spellings: Nyungar/Nyoongar/Nyoongah/Nyungah/Nyugah), are an indigenous Australian people who live in the south-west corner of Western Australia from Geraldton on the west coast to Esperance on the south coast.
  • Gordys Gespür für die australische Erde (Text only available in German!)
  • The Society for Threatened Peoples.

Dreamtime

Pintubi

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