Indigenous people are dependant on their knowledge and understanding for the survival of their land. They needed to know the seasons and when and where the various types of food are available. The land needs to be protected to ensure the survival of the land. They do this by passing on knowledge of the land and its creation through stories, songs, ceremonies, dances and art. The closest English word for this knowledge of the land and its creation is the Dreaming. The Dreaming is a unifying characteristic of all Indigenous culture, but each group within Australia had its own particular Dreaming. The Dreaming of a group explained how features of their world came to be; the dreaming explained the sacred sites and their importance. It also set out the rules of how people should behave, particularly towards the land. The Dreaming gave meaning and direction to the lives of each Indigenous group, and continues to do so.
The land is a pivotal medium through which the Dreaming is communicated. Hence, when the High Court of Australia ruled that Australia’s land was occupied at the time of British settlement and overturned the notion of ‘Terra Nullius’, deeming it legally invalid, the opportunity was granted for Indigenous Australians to re-establish spiritual links with the land and their cultural
These philosophical ways of being and abiding by are supported by the Dreamtime. The Dreamtime can be explained as ‘how the world came to be’ for Australia’s First People, centered around ‘how people must conduct their behavior and social relations’ (Broome, 2002, p. 19). There are estimated to be 600 different Indigenous countries that exist amongst the Australian continent, all with different ways of ‘doing’ (Edwards, 1998). The Dreaming is an important way of passing on knowledge, cultural values and belief systems from generation to generation (Australian Government, 2015). The deep connection that Aboriginal people have to their land is also an important concept relation to the concept of The Dreaming. The land is where the events of the dreaming occurred, with the spirit beings of The Dreaming, forming sacred parts of the Australian landscape (Edwards, 1998, p. 81). This spiritual way of being is also linked to elaborate laws of kinship (Phillips, 2005).
The Dreaming stories pass on important knowledge, cultural values and belief systems to later generations. This is done by song, dance, storytelling and painting. Indigenous Australians have maintained links to The Dreaming dating back from ancient times up to the present, providing a very rich cultural heritage. The role that The Dreaming plays in Indigenous Australian life is very important to this culture as it holds big significance of how Indigenous Australians and their culture came to be.
Before the European invasion in the 1700’s, Indigenous Australians lived in tribes all over the country, with an estimated population of 750,000 people (Australian Museum, 2013). By 1901, less than 100,000 remained. Their deeply rooted belief and spiritual system, known as the Dreaming, was a
Throughout Australian history, Aboriginal people have been displaced and mistreated through the course of time, through the separation from their from kinship groups, land and the stolen generation. This has resulted in the connection to their dreaming lost, misconnection and loss of their sacred sites and traditional food from their land. As a consequence of the stolen generation, many aboriginal children were deprived of their parents, families, spirituality, language from their land and their cultural identity. All of these aspects contribute to the continuing effect of dispossession on Aboriginal spiritualities.
The Dreaming is communicated through songs, stories and rituals, in which is explains how the “creator ancestors shaped the land and brought it to life” (Gammage, 2011, p. 1419). All of life, from religion, geography, life and more, are explained and connected to the Aboriginal people’s spirituality, land and family through this form of communication. The Dreamtime “shapes the Aboriginal people’s view of the universe and themselves” (Wierzbicka & Goddard, 2015, p. 43). The passing on of the Dreaming stories from one generation to the next was a “most important aspect of education” (Edwards, 1998, p. 83) and is seen as the fundamental reality. Edwards stated that through ritual, humans are able to “enter into a direct relationship with
The Dreaming: Aboriginal spirituality relies on the dreaming to describe the "fundamental reality" of aboriginals past, present and future. Aboriginals concept of time was and is different to the modern western society. They believe the concept of dreaming began at the beginning of creation and repeats through every generation- "the dreaming began at the dawn of time, remains bound up in the present, and will endure forever." As the dreaming is still present today in Aboriginal spirituality, it shows how the dreaming connecting adherents to their law, customs, spirituality through the paradigms of song, dance, art and rituals. For example, The 'Be' story that comes from the Dalabon country explains the connection between animals and humans
Aboriginal spirituality is a celebration of connectedness. The relationships which the Indigenous people form with their environment reflects that their spirituality is far more complex than a religion, rather, it is an identity. For theses ancient people there is no separation between the people, flora and fauna, and the land (Korff, What is Aboriginal Spirituality?, 2017). All of these elements are profoundly connected through song, dance, sacred stories and art, which are the pillars of Aboriginal spirituality. These traditions also allow the Indigenous people to connect with and understand the earth, therefor understanding ancestor spirits who are ever present within the land. Ancestors may have come to rest within specific land forms (Australian Museum, 2015). These connections create an inextricable relationship with the land; not only in a spiritual sense, but also as a way of understanding one’s history. “The land is our food, our culture, our spirit and identity” (Korff, What is Aboriginal Spirituality?, 2017). This report will explore the connection between Indigenous spirituality, land rights, European settlement and the impact colonisation had on the Australian Aboriginal peoples.
To better understand Aboriginals as a Dream Culture I want to give more insight into Aboriginal Australians general culture and their conceptions of “Dream Time.” In his discussion of religion, Mircea Eliade describes a concept of Cosmos vs Chaos (Eliade 1957). In this notion an unordered world is chaotic only until is it transposed during a sacred time: “By occupying it and, above all, by settling in it, man symbolically transforms it into a cosmos though a ritual repetition of the cosmogony” (Eliade 1957:31). In other words until a land is tamed or created it is considered unordered. This can be applied to Aboriginal’s understanding of the world prior to their current presence. Aboriginals believe that in a time before the Dreamings, the land and world was a featureless earth. It was not until the dreamtime, or time of creation: “where there is contact with appearances from both realms of inside the earth itself as from ill-defined upper region” that the earth began to have its composed landscapes (Cowan 1992:26). The Dream Time is not only a period but more of a dimension where ancestral beings moved across the earth and created not only land, but every aspect of the earth including animals, plants, and man. It is important to realize that the ancestors created the natural earth and that is why Aboriginals live a particular lifestyle. Most Aboriginals living in this cosmogony are hunter-gatherer tribes. This aspect of their life can be traced to stem from the idea of
The Indigenous Australian imagination perceives the way of the world and all that exists as not the result of a singular force or mind, but, rather, the result of powerful totemic ancestral beings who once roamed the land. This ontological tradition, known as “The Dreaming”, serves as an infinite link between past and present, people and place, and both the natural and spiritual world. “The Dreaming,” then, asserts that all of humanity and nature in its entirety is alive and connected. In his ethnographic account titled, Pintupi Country, Pintupi Self, Fred Myers examines the importance of The Dreaming to Pintupi society and its centrality in the constitution of their lived world. Descriptions of what happened in The Dreaming underlie Pintupi social relationships and constructions of “country.” It is through this mythological construct that the Pintupi Aboriginal people mediate their relationships with the land and negotiate aspects of personhood and identity.
Storytelling helps other people to emotionally connect themselves to the author so that they know they are not the only ones who are experiencing a painful or exciting experience, and are able to share the same emotions. It often helps other people to know what they should do in order to get over it when it comes to a painful experience. Maya Angelou’s I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings explores the life of Maya Angelou and the struggles she has been throughout her childhood to her adulthood. Richard Wagemese’s Indian Horse explores the life of Saul Indian Horse and the struggles he has been through after departing from his family. The power of storytelling can unfold questions which ask the audience of how and why are the events are unfold the
They way stories are told may morph, but never will storytelling cease. From their people skills to their memories, there is no argument that storytellers possess boundless talent and intelligence. They were the first educators. And now, storytelling is a large part of everyday life. The news in the morning, the gossip throughout the day, the casual response to the casual “What’s up?” – It’s all a form of storytelling. Our lives are steeped in it. In almost every conversation a story is told. At every turn a story is born. So we all are storytellers, and the world is our audience, just waiting to hear the gospel leave our