Indigenous Australians are the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of Australia, groups that existed before European colonisation.
Although indigenous Australians are generalized as being of the “Australoid race”, there are important distinctions between the various Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander groups in terms of social, cultural and linguistic customs.
Estimates suggest that they have lived in Australia for 60 to 120 thousand years.
During that time, they have offered remarkable wisdom that counter much of what we are taught in the west.
Here are some of the best quotes and sayings that will change your perspective on life:
“Our spirituality is a oneness and an interconnectedness with all that lives and breathes, even with all that does not live or breathe.” – Mudrooroo
“Being Aboriginal is not the color of your skin or how broad your nose is. It is a spiritual feeling, an identity you know in your heart. … It is a unique feeling that is difficult for non-Aboriginal to fully understand.”
On The Land
“So I take this word reconciliation and I use it to reconcile people back to Mother Earth, so they can walk this land together and heal one another because she’s the one that gives birth to everything we see around us, everything we need to survive.” – Max Dulumunmun Harrison
“We cultivated our land, but in a way different from the white man. We endeavored to live with the land; they seemed to live off it. I was taught to preserve, never to destroy.” – Tom Dystra
“This earth, I never damage. I look after. Fire is nothing, just clean up. When you burn, new grass coming up. That means good animal soon, Might be goanna, possum, wallaby. Burn him off, new grass coming up, new life all over.” – Bill Neidjie
“The land is my mother. Like a human mother, the land gives us protection, enjoyment and provides our needs – economic, social and religious. We have a human relationship with the land: Mother, daughter, son. When the land is taken from us or destroyed, we feel hurt because we belong to the land and we are part of it.” – Djinyini Gondarra
“Land is a central part of the connection to country and to our identity as people. Many of our significant sites, landscapes, customs and stories focus on connection to land. Land is therefore very important to our culture, history and future.”
“… from time immemorial, we believe as Aboriginal people, Australia has been here from the first sunrise, our people have been here along with the continent, with the first sunrise. We know our land was given to us by Baiami, we have a sacred duty to protect that land, we have a sacred duty to protect all the animals that we have an affiliation with through our totem system …”
“The Aboriginal Sunrise Ceremonies are very special to our people. It starts when the sky is black, beautiful black. When the sun’s yellow circle arrives, it turns the sky red. This is why the Aboriginal flag is half red, half black with a yellow circle in the middle. At the Sunrise Ceremony, I meditate and ask the Great Spirit for direction. My hands fill with electricity. I touch you and you feel it, too. I heal people this way. My Grandmother did that, too. I learned all about that when I was a young fellow. Umbarra, the Black Duck, is the special totem of our tribe, the Yuin. We learn to respect the elders who hand on the Law. The elders guard the Law and the Law guards the people. This is the Law that comes from the mountain. The mountain teaches the dreaming.”
“Racism is a disease in society. We’re all equal. I don’t care what their color is, or religion. Just as long as they’re human beings they’re my buddies.” – Mandawuy Yunupingu
The Knowledge & Learning
“The more you know, the less you need.” – Australian Aboriginal saying
“Traveler, there are no paths. Paths are made by walking.”
“To us, health is about so much more than simply not being sick. It’s about getting a balance between physical, mental, emotional, cultural and spiritual health. Health and healing are interwoven, which means that one can’t be separated from the other.” – Dr Tamara Mackean
On The Elders
“At the Sunrise Ceremony, I meditate and ask the Great Spirit for direction. My hands fill with electricity. I touch you and you feel it, too. I heal people this way. My Grandmother did that, too. I learned all about that when I was a young fellow… We learn to respect the elders who hand on the Law. The elders guard the Law and the Law guards the people. This is the Law that comes from the mountain. The mountain teaches the dreaming.” – Guboo Ted Thomas
“We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love… and then we return home.” – Australian Aboriginal saying
“Those who lose dreaming are lost.”
On Living in the Present Moment
“”May as well be here, we are as where we are.”
“Keep your eyes on the sun and you will not see the shadows.”