Lecture 1. An introduction to Australian Aboriginal

This lecture discusses the diversity of Aboriginal groups across Australia, explaining the concept of Country as central to Aboriginal spirituality and identity and how the concept of Country includes all parts of the environment, cultural practices, knowledges, songs, stories, art, architecture and all peoples, past, present and future. The lecture is presented in five parts: 1. Indigenous occupation of Australia This contrasts various Western science models of how Aboriginal groups came to inhabit Australia (noting complexities from different fields), comparing these to Indigenous concepts of origins (i.e., introducing the concepts of Deep Time and the Dreaming). 2. Diversity across Indigenous Australia This introduces students to the concept of critical cartography and the history and issues of mapping the diversity Aboriginal Australia. 3. Australian Aboriginal concepts This section produces an introduction to Indigenous Knowledge Systems, the concepts of Country Dreaming’ (illustrated by the ancestral story of Ngarrindjeri and the formation of the Murray River), Songlines (illustrated by the ancestral story of Kungarangkulpa I The Seven Sisters), the Skyworld and Underworld and Aboriginal astronomy. 4. Aboriginal Societal Structures This part introduces kinship systems, moieties (illustrated by a discussion of Yolŋu moieties (Arnhem Land), totems, skin groups and names (illustrated by a discussion Arrernte skin names from Central Australia) and connections to Country. The section reinforces key concepts to illustrate the manner the Dreaming, cultural values, spiritual beliefs and kin-based relationships cause areas or places to be considered sacred, secret or revered. The section is designed for people without anthropological expertise in Indigenous Australia. 5. Contemporary Aboriginal Society The section discusses the historical and on-going processes of colonisation/invasion, the definition of Indigeneity in Australia with attached issues, land rights, the importance of Indigenous Identify and struggle of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to maintain and revive their cultural practices and connections to Country. It discusses how Indigenous peoples have custodial responsibilities to care for their Country to ensure continuing order, physical sustenance and spiritual nourishment and touches on contemporary ways Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are reviving cultures through the built environment.

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Lecture Notes