- Many thanks for the information. I love how descriptive their names are for the mountains - 'drizzle carrier' and 'flirtation'. They've a very interesting culture; how much of it has survived? Especially in areas such as marriage and courtship, which was an eye-opener to say the least. There's a huge difference in the way the Aboriginals and Europeans treated the land - sheep farming, sandalwood and beekeeping (running over the hives!). Do the tribes still have a connection with the area?
Tha fŗilte mhÚr ort,
It depends on the area, and how much the local populations were displaced. The loss of connection and traditions is worst in city and agricultural areas; it's really sad to see that there, a lot of young indigenous people are aping African-American rap culture. Schools are making an increasing effort to teach Aboriginal cultural awareness and to at least show a little of the languages and customs; and in schools with a significant indigenous population, this tends to be more expansive, which then benefits everyone attending.
We finally had the apology back in 2007 - the then-PM Kevin Rudd stood up an apologised on behalf of the Australian government for all the injustices that had historically been done to indigenous people, and that were still being perpetuated in more subtle ways. There were so many tears that day, from the indigenous people attending and from supporters of all types of cultural backgrounds. I cried watching the transmission on TV - this had been so long overdue. It's so necessary and so powerful for people to say, "What we did was wrong and we're so sorry for your pain and all the consequences for you." This pain and these consequences is multi-generation, as it also often is for survivors of more private types of violence and injustice.
In the region where we live, the indigenous population is a tiny minority, and tend to live in clusters in the suburbs. On the farm, we and some of our neighbours sometimes get approached by local indigenous people from the suburbs about whether we would let them hunt kangaroos on the land we "own" (my emphasis) and are currently stewarding, and we have always said yes, and tried to get to know them better. One of the "uncles" in their group is pretty connected to the land still, and sort of mentors them with their hunting, which these days they do with a gun, but we've seen them still do the on-foot flushing out of game which is traditional. There are no effective predators of the kangaroo left in this area, other than humans, and we do need to control the population excesses, and to my mind, who better to do this than the descendants of the traditional owners? Unlike a lot of white people, they hunt to eat. Kangaroo is very like venison, and it is such a shame to see most of it get used for pet food.
Away from the cities and intensive agriculture areas, there are still indigenous people with huge
connection to land and traditions. So, in the Northern Territory, for example. The other day I was digging around for music and found the YouTube clip for a song I really loved when I heard it on the radio in the 1990s, by Yothu Yindi, a band that was formed from the merging of a white rock/folk band, and a group of indigenous musicians and dancers. They were very much proponents of reconciliation, and acknowledging the good aspects of both cultures, and of wearing indigenous traditions with pride. Here's their hugely feel-good song World Turning
They make such great clips too.
Several remixes were done, and this was considered the "grooviest" by some people - it's also how I first heard it:
...I can't make up my mind which I like best - I love all of them!
Sadly, the singer of this band died a while ago, only in his 50s, from kidney failure - as is the case for a lot of indigenous people; they are terribly susceptible to diabetes because they have ultra-efficient hunter-gatherer metabolisms that survived over 60,000 years of living off some very difficult and ancient country; European foods, alcohol and comparative inactivity just kill these people so quickly - diabetes is an overall epidemic in Australia, but nowhere worse than with indigenous people, who are like canaries in the coalmine for our Western bad habits. Alcohol addiction is also especially bad amongst these people; it didn't help the singer any with his health that he had a self-reported consumption of between 1 and 4 cartons
of beer daily for many years, until he went in for treatment. It's especially sad because he was really educated, was a school principal in his local area and did so much fantastic stuff for indigenous pride in culture, and reconciliation, so effectively and for so long, and had so much to live for and be proud of, and still succumbed to this awful alcohol addiction.
More on this wonderful band here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yothu_Yindi
I'm not an expert, but i'd say that most Scots Gaelic speakers can understand each other, despite some differences between the Islands, mainland and Canada. We'd a lot of dialects but theyíre dying out, some are long gone. They say itís due to the use of a standardised version in classrooms, media and certain amount of anglicisation in the way itís spoken.
Oh, so there's attrition / loss with Gaelic as well? That's a shame... it's such a beautiful language (both Scots and Irish), the sounds and inflections are so lovely that I was drawn to music in these languages early, and from then on of course wanted to know what the words meant! :) I am glad that the language and traditions are being kept alive in very meaningful ways, and that many people are passionate about that!