4 Facts you probably didn’t know about Indigenous Australians

Australia’s Indigenous people consists of two distinct cultural groups, which are made up of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Their culture includes a number of practices and ceremonies which are focused on a belief in the “Dreamtime” and other “mythology”. Over 300 languages and other groupings have developed a wide range of individual cultures. Due the colonization of Australia under “terra nullius” concept these cultures were treated as one monoculture.

Here are a few facts you probably didn’t know about Indigenous Australians;

  • Oldest living culture in the world

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander have been in existence for at least 50,000 years. Some argue that it is longer than that and closer to 65,000 years.

  • Australian English borrows more than 400 words from Aboriginal languages

Some of the words borrowed from Aboriginal languages are koala, wombat, barramundi, kookaburra, boomerang, yakka and bung – which is an adjective for bad or diseased. Even the word ‘kangaroo’ an Aboriginal word.

  • More than 250 Australian Indigenous languages exist

 according to the National Indigenous Language Survey, it was thought that when colonists arrived, there were over 250 languages. In recent times, 100 of those languages became unspoken, and the rest are highly endangered. Today less than 20 languages are spoken by all Indigenous groups.

  • Dream Time: Aboriginal cultural and spiritual identity

Dream Time refers to the Indigenous understanding of the world’s creation. It is a continuing story that never ends. Unlike other religions, Aboriginal people do not put humans on a level higher than nature. They believe that some of their ancestors changed into nature, where they live spiritually.

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