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PostSubject: ABORIGINAL FAMILY LIFE   Sat Apr 21, 2012 9:36 pm

As in most tribal societies, the family is the very essence of the tribe and the Aboriginal idea of family life is very different to our own, for instance the family name is taken from the mother not the father, this is because it is the woman who creates the life by giving birth.

Family life is also different because of the totems that each person has, you may have seen a very famous Aboriginal actor called David Gulpilil he has starred in many films that needed Aboriginal input, Gulpilil's tribe is the Mandaibingu tribe from northern Armhem Land, Arnhem Land is one of the few areas in Australia where Aboriginal people still live a traditional life and maintain a strong culture.
His symbol is the Goanna a lizard he believes that his family is descended from the supernatural being represented by the goanna in the Dreamtime.
This belief is very important to him, and the goanna of today constantly reminds him of that spiritual ancestor. These symbols are also important because they help to show man's unity with nature. All animals, birds, insects, reptiles, plants and other life forms, including man, are part of nature; it is only outward forms that are different.

A person in another tribe with the same totem is regarded as a brother or sister or uncle as the case may be, even though he or she was not born of the same parents. So Gulpilil has many brothers, sisters, uncles, mothers and fathers!

These totems help all Aboriginals to have close bonds with each other. With so many relations there's always a wonderful and deep sense of security, warmth and protection for every child. It's like having a big net of family all around you.

I hope I have explained Totems sufficiently for you to understand the complex family traditions that Aborigines have, the majority of us reading this post will have been to school to learn, this is not the case of Aboriginal children however, they have their lessons at home and their ‘tutor’ could be a father an uncle, mother or an aunt, the lessons often consist of and joining in the Corroborees.

At a corroboree Aborigines interact with the Dreamtime through dance, music and costume. Many ceremonies act out events from the Dreamtime, these ceremonies are sacred, people from outside a community are not allowed to take part or even watch, they paint their bodies in different ways that are not used every day, this is where the children learn about Dreamtime.

The children watch the performances given by older boys and girls, men and women, and see them make up dances and rhythms as they go along according to their mood at the time. By taking part in these occasions, the children, begin to learn some of the special but difficult dance movements which later, as adults, they will perform in ancient dances or ceremonies - so they are learning and having fun at the same time.

This also means that they become very close to their 'tutors'. The core of the Aboriginal tribal culture is music, dance, ceremonies and story-telling and all these are closely bound up with the land and nature in sacred ceremonies and rituals. These ties are strengthened by their spiritual ancestors.


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