Ancient tribe Aboriginal Australians - Ancestry and origin
What does the name Aborigines mean?
The indigenous inhabitants of Australia reached the fifth continent approximately 40,000 - 50,000 years ago. The name “Aborigine” is derived from Latin and means essentially “from the beginning on.” It was coined by European researchers who came to Australia in 1770. The individual Aborigine groups themselves use other names for their people: Uuri, Koori, Murri, Nanga, Yura, Nyungar or Pyam.
The early Aborigines were gatherers and hunters. With spears, boomerangs, fishing hooks and a spear thrower called a Woomerang, they hunted giant kangaroos, wallabies, warane and fish. Before the arrival of James Cook in 1770 and the subsequent colonization by the Europeans, there were around 500 Aboriginal tribes with 300 different languages. Today there are only around 100 languages spoken by independent groups such as the Warlpiri.
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What is the culture of the Aborigines like?
Common to all Aborigines is the creation myth of the “Dream Time.” With ‘Dream Time’ they mean the time in the far distant past, in which the world was dreamed into existence by spiritual beings who, during the Dream Time, formed the world and shaped it as we find it today. When the Dream Time was over, these Dream Time begins assumed physical form, transforming themselves animals, plants, rocks and important landscape formations. The Aborigines transmit their knowledge by means of dances, rituals, stories and pictographic representations. Their rock paintings, which are older than comparable finds in Europe demonstrate, how the great spirits created the land and taught human beings how to find nourishment, to hold ceremonies and heed laws.
What is the recent history of Aboriginal people?
With the advance of the Europeans, began the typical colonization in Australia: incitement against the Aborigines, the confiscation of their land, the destruction of their culture and their languages. Those who refused to accept European customs were not treated like human beings.
The white colonists declared the continent to have been “uncolonized before 1778”. The characterized it as Terra Nullius, No Man’s Land. Therewith they declared that the Aborigines had no claim of any kind on the land, with which they were fully intertwined. Only in the 20th Century were some communal lands of the Aborigines returned to them, in which case however the lands were for the most part remote and unproductive strips of land. In spite of state-sponsored assistance programs, many Aborigines in today’s Australia live in decayed suburbs of the major cities. There are serious deficiencies in education, housing, medical care and general social acceptance. Their life expectancy lies far under the national average. The Australian Aborigines feel yet today that they have been deceived. Some groups, such as the Warlpiri, have in the meantime resorted to using their own websites and documentary films to draw attention to their fate.
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