The Cultural Uniqueness and Identity of the Aboriginal People


The aboriginal people are indigenous groups from Australia. They are also known as the Torres Strait Islanders. The membership of this group of individuals was coined in 1788, after they had been colonized by the British. Collectively, the colonizers referred to all the people that they found claiming the land as aboriginals. The aboriginal people have unique cultural practices that make them stand out from the crowd. Their culture is an inclusion of various ceremonies and practices in the Dreamtime belief. In addition, they can be identified by their tribal divisions and language groupings which exhibit different individual cultures. In this essay, we are going to shed light on the uniqueness of the aboriginal people’s way of life and identity.

To begin with, the group practices fire-stick farming. This practice was identified by Rhys Jones, an Australian archeologist. The practice involved systematic and regular setting ablaze of patches of land or rather vegetation, in order to facilitate hunting, change the animal and plant species composition and to reduce major bush fires. This was a common practice from Northern to Central Australia. Importantly, the people accorded that the ‘burning off’ reduced the load of fuel hence preventing major bush fire (Berry, 2015). Likewise, the practice increased the survival rate of young plants as the burnt vegetation provided manure for their growth. Another important culture practiced by the aboriginals was the walkabout where the adolescence were excluded from their family group and trained to be self-sufficient and independent. This was journey in their rites of passage before they became adults.

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On the other hand, the aboriginals valued inheritance. The event is central as it involves granting of responsibilities and territorial rights. Both the son and the daughter inherit one right via their father. This is referred to as the Kirda according to many other Central Australian languages. Inheritance from their mother’s side is known as Kurdungurlu. Thus, there is a set of Kirda and Kurdungurlu for any Dreaming site (Hampton & Toombs, 2016).

The spiritual values and oral tradition were built on reverence of the Dreamtime belief. Here, the dreaming was essential as represented their creation time and realities of their present day dreaming. It is consequent to note that, even though each of the many groups have their own language, beliefs and cultures, they all honor the relevance of dreaming. For instance, most of the aboriginal people believed in the Rainbow Serpent, one of the ancestral beings (Hampton & Toombs, 2016). The major custodians of Dreamtime stories were the Ngangkari, the traditional healers. Furthermore, the people originally believed that a person had more than one soul or spirit and that life continues after their death. The cultural uniqueness in this is that once a person dies he/she had roles. Part of him/her may go to the afterlife, or awaits to reborn, or merge with creative beings and ancestral spirits.

Conclusively, the aboriginal people’s identity majorly based on their belief systems, kinship/social structures, social marriage, exchange of language and this led to broader social structures. The Aboriginal people taught the children their way of life and as they grow, underwent through the various rites of passage. One thrilling factor about this group is that they value each other and mainly focus on creating a strong sense of belonging among themselves.

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  1. Berry J., (2015). Aboriginal Cultural Identity. The Canadian Journal of Native Studies XIX, 1(1909), pp. 1-36. 
  2. Hampton, R., & Toombs, M., (2016). Cultural Identity and Indegenious Australian Peoples. Oxford: Oxford University Press ANZ.
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