Indigenous Australians

First Nations people of Australia and its islands

Indigenous Australians are the native people of Australia. They include the Aboriginal Australians as well as Torres Strait Islanders, and are often known together as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.[1]

Picture of an Aboriginal man in the Albert Namatjira art gallery, Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia

In the past, Indigenous Australians used weapons like boomerangs sticks and spears to kill animals for food. It is unknown where they came from and how they appeared in Australia. It is estimated they first arrived in their homeland between 50,000 and 65,000 years BP.[2][3] Aboriginal people have their own type of art.

Many indigenous Australians suffered when Europeans from Britain and Ireland arrived in Australia. Disease and the loss of their hunting lands are two of the reasons.[4]

Aboriginal man playing a didgeridoo

History of Aboriginal Australia change

The first people of Australia were nomadic people who came to Australia from southeast Asia. Scientists do not know exactly when they arrived but it is at least 60,000 years ago.[5][6][7] They were hunter-gatherers.

When the British came to Australia in 1788, they called these native people "aboriginals", meaning people who had lived there since the earliest times.

There are now about 650,000 Aboriginal people living in Australia.[8][9]

Dreamtime change

Aboriginal Australians believe that they have animal, plant, and human ancestors who created the world and everything in it. This process of creation is called Dreamtime. There are many songs and stories about Dreamtime, which generations of Aboriginal people have passed down to their children.

Art change

The modern-day art of the Aboriginal Australians is mostly based on old stories about Dreamtime.[10] Paintings of the people, spirits, and animals of Dreamtime cover sacred cliffs and rocks in tribal territories. Some of the pictures are made in red and yellow ochre and white clay, others have been carved into the rocks. Many are thousands of years old.

Boomerangs change

typical boomerange shape

The typical boomerang is designed to be self-returning, but it has to be properly thrown. Modern computer-designed boomerangs may have three or four wings instead of the traditional two.[11]

Boomerangs have been discovered in cultures with no connection with Australia (such as ancient Egypt),[12] so their design was presumably mutually independent. Boomerangs are one of a group of weapons known as "throwsticks".

Land claims change

When British people came to live in Australia, they decided that the land was empty: that nobody "owned" the land, in the way Europeans used that word. This was called "terra nullius", Latin words for "empty land".[13]

In 1976, the Australian government agreed that Aboriginal people have rights to the land where their tribes were originally located and gained the right to use the land. On 3 June, 1992, the High Court of Australia said that the idea of terra nullius was wrong, and the government brought in new laws, to set up Native Title.[13] If Aboriginal people can prove they have always used particular land, it has not been sold, or changed by government acts, then the land could be claimed as Aboriginal land.[13]

Population by region change

Region Population Percentage of region
  Australia 798,365 3.3%
  New Zealand 795[14]

Other websites change

References change

  1. Studies, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (12 July 2020). "Indigenous Australians: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people".
  2. Griffiths, Billy (2018). Deep Time Dreaming: Uncovering Ancient Australia. Black Inc. pp. 288–289. ISBN 9781760640446.
  3. Clarkson, Chris; Jacobs, Zenobia; et al. (19 July 2017). "Human occupation of northern Australia by 65,000 years ago" (PDF). Nature. 547 (7663): 306–310. Bibcode:2017Natur.547..306C. doi:10.1038/nature22968. hdl:2440/107043. PMID 28726833. S2CID 205257212.
  4. "Indigenous and European Contact in Australia". Britannica Kids. Retrieved 2021-06-07.
  5. Hesp, Patrick A. et al 1999. Aboriginal occupation on Rottnest Island, Western Australia, provisionally dated by aspartic acid racemisation assay of land snails to greater than 50 ka. Australian Archaeology, No 49 (1999)
  6. "Stone Pages Archaeo News: Australia colonized earlier than previously thought?". 2003. Retrieved 28 March 2013.
  7. "Dreaming Online: Indigenous Australian Timeline". Archived from the original on 2009-02-06. Retrieved 2009-06-04.
  8. Australia census: Five takeaways from a changing country". BBC News. 27 June 2017.
  9. Australian Bureau of Statistics Archived 2010-04-29 at the Wayback Machine 2006 Census data
  10. "10 Facts About Aboriginal Art | Kate Owen Gallery".
  11. Jones, Philip 1996. Boomerang: behind an Australian icon. Wakefield Press. ISBN 9781862543829
  12. Valde-Nowak & others 1987. Upper Palaeolithic boomerang made of a mammoth tusk in south Poland. Nature 329: 436–438 (1 October 1987); doi:10.1038/329436a0 [1]
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 "Terra Nullius". Aboriginal Victoria. Visit Victoria. Archived from the original on 2010-03-18. Retrieved 2010-01-11.
  14. "2018 Census ethnic group summaries | Stats NZ".