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What cultures are in Australia?

Australians of today are deeply concerned about environment issues like global warming. Surviving on this land for more than 60, 000 years, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders established effective ways to use and sustain resources. One important aspect is the right of certain people to control the use of resources in a particular area. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people don’t see themselves as ‘owning’ land, animals, plants or nature, but rather belonging with these things as equal parts of creation.

“I am an Aboriginal woman who has been brought up in a European world. I am Aboriginal in body, heart, soul and spirit. I cherish the culture that is passed on to me by my elders, particularly my mother, aunties and uncles. I have been brought up to believe that we have a special connection to the land. We belong to the land. The land does not belong to us.”
Cassandra Lawton
Gungarri woman (SW Qld)

The rights of different groups to live in and manage certain areas of land are clear and recorded through art, stories, songs and dance.

Deep cultural and spiritual values like totemism have also played an important part in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander resource management. Totemism is a belief and value system that connects human beings to other animals, plants and aspects of nature. Groups and individuals are assigned a particular animal that they are related to and have to care for. This gives them a profound sense of connection to and responsibility for the natural world.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders people have a wide range of traditional methods for gathering food – including fish traps, subsistence agriculture, hunting and harvesting a wide range of natural fruits and vegetables. Some groups of people would stay in one place, while others moved around the land according to the seasons, to ensure sustainable and rich food supplies, and to fulfil their spiritual and cultural obligations.

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