A) Aboriginal spirituality and the dreaming
Q1- Kinship is a complex system of belonging and responsibility within a clan based on family and totem relations that govern daily Aboriginal life by determining issues. The dreaming has in itself prescribed the peoples kinship ties and permeates throughout the system by:
Assigning responsibilities to transmit knowledge of the dreaming from elders to younger generations Providing the basis on which aboriginal society is structured on; maintained since the beginning of the Dreaming Defining spiritual and temporal identity to the aboriginal people Kinship is also expressed through Totems, which identify one’s kinship line and provide the individual with a direct link to sacred matters Q2- Ceremonial life:
The complex and spiritual core of the Dreaming and Dreaming stories for each group is recognised in ceremonial life, encompassing performance of rituals at sacred sites, the drawing of sacred symbols and corroborees.
Rituals heighten the presence of the Dreaming’s:
Link the present world to the Dreamtime
Art is used to communicate the dreaming:
By providing maps of the land; clans, sacred sites, waterholes etc. Used to pass on sacred knowledge
Stories describe the Aboriginal law and lifestyle:
Describe how ancestral beings move through land creating nature Provide foundation for Aboriginal existence by explaining creation and sharing how dreaming shapes daily life Used as a form of oral history
Totems represent individual, as they existed in the dreaming: Form of animal, plant or natural phenomena
Links individual and ancestor spirit
Totems carry ceremonial responsibilities (balance rights)
Q3- Land and people:
Land is of great importance because:
Aboriginals believe that people were created from the earth which has existed since the beginning of time and that it is therefore the sacred motherland, ‘My Country’
Dreaming is inextricably connected to the land because:
The land is the context of the Dreaming stories, a constant around which their spiritual world revolved. Land provides the foundation for Aboriginal beliefs, traditions, rituals and laws
Ancestral beings dwell in the land and therefore:
The people have a responsibility to keep and respect the land E.g. If travelling, the aboriginal people must be careful not to enter the sacred spaces of other clans. This shows the interconnection that exists between obligation to the land and a people. E.g. The people of West Arnhem Land, in the NT, believe that the MiMi rock pictures were painted by The MiMi Spirits thousands of years ago. This allows them to understand the relationship they have with the Dreaming, their country and their ancestor spirits. These relationships determine responsibilities between people. Q4- Separation from the land:
Interfered with rituals and ceremonies which followed Dreaming tracks (paths that follow the Spirit Ancestors as they created the landscape) that provided the people with a physical connection to the Dreaming. Out of context the ritual/ceremony is meaningless and the people become misplaced spiritually and psychologically with no home and no stable base of life. The land is the context of the Dreaming stories, a constant around which their spiritual world revolved. Removal from this land would then be likely to cause a severe disruption to the normal pattern and processes for handling traditions Physical presence in the country was important to the people in keeping the lore (stories, songs, dances, art, customs) alive and passing it on. The lore is related land were their shared personal property, perhaps the most important ‘permanent’ and ‘tangible’ constant in their nomadic life.
Q5- Separation from kinship groups:
Kinship groups are vital in the aboriginal culture in that they tie clans and families together, allocating roles and responsibilities within a community. Separation from kinship groups, working systems, then...
Links: Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (1996):
Issued the ‘Bringing them home’ report which told of the horrific conditions Aboriginal children were forced to face
The Wik case concerned land that was subject to pastoral leases.
(1996) The High Court of Australia decided that native title rights could co-exist with the rights of pastoralists
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