Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have a history that goes back for tens of thousands of years. There is not a singular Indigenous culture in Australia, instead, there are distinct social groups that include hundreds of nations. Each nation has its own culture, beliefs, and language. While there are many similarities each group is unique and inhabit their own country.
Here are a few things that many people don’t know about Australia’s Indigenous people.
1. Indigenous culture is the oldest lasting civilization.
There is archaeological evidence that proves Torres Strait Islanders and Aboriginals have lived on this continent for at least 60,000 years, making the Indigenous culture the oldest civilization still surviving today. Before Europeans came to Australia these people were nomadic hunter-gatherers.
2. Indigenous people don’t live solely in the bush.
Many people believe that the only places still home to these cultures are in the bush, however that is simply not true. Many Indigenous Australians actually live in major cities and regional towns.
3. The land is sacred.
Land is considered sacred and this belief is common throughout all Indigenous cultures. It is believed that at the beginning of time the Australian landscape was shapeless and it is ancestors that travelled throughout the land forming landmarks and other places of interests. These ancestors are also responsible for forming the trails that connect the sacred sites. One shows respect for their ancestors by having respect for their country.
4. History of International Trade
Before the British arrived Indigenous groups used to trade goods with sailors that today, would be from Indonesia. The Macassan sailors were in search of sea cucumber with hopes to trade in China. During the interactions amongst the groups there were exchanges of cultural perspectives and ideas as well.
5. Marngrook before Australian Rules Football
A game called Marngrook, which is a variety of football, is actually what inspired the invention of Australian Rules Football. Indigenous players have contributed immensely to
Australian Rules Football and many Indigenous people are involved with other sports.
6. Indigenous settlements.
While most people know about the First Fleet, many don’t know what early explorers described of Indigenous villages. These settlements had irrigation systems and grain harvest agriculture. Furthermore, Ancient stone fish traps, which may be the oldest man-made structures on Earth have been found in New South Wales. In another region of NSW 30,000-year-old grindstones have also been found. Today there are remains of aquaculture systems that are believed to be older than the pyramids in Egypt by at least 4,000 years.
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