Indigenous Australians Links with the Land and the Dreaming
The National Apology • 13 February 2008 • Federal Parliament, Canberra • Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd • A step towards reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians
Where did the First Australians come from? • Prehistory – the time before European settlement; no written records of human events. • The Scientific Perspective - Archaeologists and Anthropologists believe Indigenous Australians came from lands to the north of Australia – most likely South East Asia. • The Dreaming Stories - Indigenous Australians believe they were created by the spirits during the Dreamtime – in the time before time.
Possible Migration Routes • Lower sea levels during last Ice Age. • Land bridges connecting Australia and New Guinea. • People also came by boat (canoes) by ‘island hopping’ across Indonesia’s islands and the Timor Sea. • Arrived at Arnhem Land (NT), the Kimberley Region (WA) or Cape York Peninsula (QL). • Rising sea levels flooded the land bridges, isolating Australia (and Tasmania).
When did the First Australians arrive? • The exact arrival of the Indigenous people is uncertain. • 40 000–80 000 years BP (Before Present). • People reached Tasmania approximately 40 000 years ago by migrating across a land bridge. • After the Ice Age sea levels rose and covered the land bridges. • Peoplethere were isolated from the mainland until the arrival of European settlers
Evidence of the First Australians? • No written records. • 1971 - Aboriginal stone tools found in a quarry in Penrith, NSW, dated to 47 000 years BP. • Human bones found at Keilor in Victoria are dated as 45,000 years old. • !975 – Man’s skeleton found at Lake Mungo, NSW in 1975. Scientists date it as 40,000 years old. • Scientists use radiocarbon dating, thermoluminescence and other methods to determine how old plants, rocks and artefacts are.
The Dreamtime • 'Dreamtime' - the 'time before time‘ and the creation time. • ‘Dreaming' - an individual's or group's set of beliefs or spirituality. • 'Ancestor Spirits' came to Earth in human and other forms and created the land, plants and animals. • Spirits traveled across the land and created rivers, hills and valleys. They also established the relationship between animals and humans. • Once their work was done, the Ancestor Spirits changed again into animals, stars, hills or other objects. • The Ancestor Spirits have not gone, they are still present in the forms they took at the end of the 'Dreamtime‘.
Why is the Dreaming important? • The Dreaming links the past with the present and the future. • The land , the people and the Dreaming are connected. • Storytelling is an integral part of life and plays a vital role in educating children. • The stories explain how the land came to be shaped and inhabited; how to behave and why; the laws of the people, where to find certain foods, etc. • Elders or Aunts and Uncles take responsibility for passing on the stories to the next generation.
Custodians of the Stories • The Dreaming Stories are not 'owned' by individuals. They belong to a group or nation, and the storytellers of that nation are carrying out an obligation to pass the stories along. • The Elders of a nation appoint skillful and knowledgeable storytellers as 'custodians' of the stories of that group. • Custodians tell the stories so that Aboriginal young people develop and retain a sense of who they are. • Storytelling, while explaining the past, helps young Indigenous Australians maintain dignity and self-respect in the present and for the future.
Creating a Dreaming Story The Aboriginal Dreaming Stories demonstrate the belief in a powerful creative deity (a ‘god’ or ‘spirit’) and are attempts to answer questions which all people ask about where they come from, who they are and how they should live. Here are some of those stories…………………….. http://www.abc.net.au/dustechoes/dustEchoesFlash.htm
Gulaga – Sacred Mountain An Aboriginal Dreaming Story
This story is about Gulaga - our mother mountain and our sacred mountain – and about her two sons, Barranguba and Najanuga. Barranguba is Montague Island - that's what the white people call it. Barranguba is the older son of Gulaga. Just like an older brother who gets tired of living with his mother, Barranguba wants to move away from home. Barranguba asked his mother if he could move away from her side for a while and went out into the sea to watch the dancing of the fish and the whales. His little brother, Najanuga saw his big brother going out and he said to Gulaga, 'Mum, can I go out too? I'm big. I'm grown up. Can I go out and watch the fish and the whales dancing?' Gulaga said, 'No, son. You are too little. If I let you go out there, you would be swallowed up by Gadu, the great sea. I will put you down near my foot, so that I can watch you and you can watch your bigger brother out in the ocean.' Gulaga put Najanuga down where he is now at the foot of his mother, Galuga, and that is where he has stayed, to watch his older brother while under the watchful eye of his mother. We call that little mountain at the edge of the water `mummy's little boy', because he is always with his mother.
Year 9 Aboriginal Dreaming Task • The Aboriginal Dreaming Stories demonstrate the belief in a powerful creative deity (a ‘god’ or ‘spirit’) and are attempts to answer questions which all people ask about their origins. According to Aboriginal Dreaming stories, Australia’s Indigenous people were created by spirits at the same time as the landscape and all living things. • You are to write a creation story about an Australian landform, animal or food. These can include, but are not limited to: • Yarra River, DandenongCreek, Port Phillip Bay, Phillip Island, the 12 Apostles, Uluru, Sydney Harbour, Koala, Blue Tongued Lizard, Kangaroo, Ring-tailed Possum, fish, witchetty grubs, snake, bush plums • YOUR TASK: • Write a draft creation story of 300-400 words • Use ‘Aboriginal Art Symbols and their Meanings’ handout to find out which symbols collaborate with your story. • Stencil out a Boomerang from the brown poster paper that has been provided • Write out your story on one side of the boomerang • Illustrate your story using the icons on the other side of the boomerang • Your Boomerang needs to look as original as it can be!