• The Dreaming • Kinship structures • Totems
• Relationships to land
Throughout a person’s lifetime with interaction and growth in society, they start to develop their own opinions and views of the world. Each individual and as a community, in society will begin to understand the world based on knowledge, experience and understanding in their own unique and individual way and thus will change their worldviews over time, to reflect the constantly changing society. However, there seems to be frequent commonalities between Indigenous worldviews (Hart, 2010). Indigenous worldviews are established with connections to the land, culture, traditions and beliefs with strong family ties that influence an individual’s view of the world and surroundings. Within Indigenous cultures there is a numerous amount of differing nations that vary in many ways that influence the worldview of those.
When the British first colonized Australia, they deemed the land 'terra nullius' or 'land belonging to no one'. European law stated that if the land was not being used, then those who first found it could and should claim it. The British regarded that the Aboriginal community as being too crude to have lawful possession of the Australia continent. They claimed that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people had no social organization, government or laws, and therefore no rights over the land. On the contrary, Indigenous people did have, and still do have, a very deep-rooted relationship with the land and always had laws to govern their behavior. But when the British came, there was no place for Aboriginal native title to land, and no place for the recognition of Aboriginal custom or law. Indigenous people were taught from early on what the law allowed and did not allow (Welch, 2014). They were taught lessons through stories, music, art, dance and other formal ceremonies. There seem to be many commonalities between Indigenous worldviews. It was explained that Indigenous worldviews came out as a result of the Indigenous people’s close relationship with the land (McKenzie and Morrissette 2003). Through the Wiradjuri and Gandangar nations, we begin to understand the strong and unique connection with Indigenous worldviews.
The Wiradjuri people are the largest group of indigenous people of Australia Aborigines that were united by a common language and strong ties of kinship (Blackburn, 2002). Wiradjuri people are originally from the land that is bordered by the Lachlan, Macquarie and Murrumbidgee rivers in Central New South Wales. The name Wiradjuri means, ‘people of the three rivers’ and traditionally these rivers were the primary source of food for the Wiradjuri people. A number of customs were unique to the Wiradjuri communities with one of the most significant being the carved trees that used to mark graves. Logging and land clearing have destroyed almost all of these burial markers, with one surviving tree trunk now on display in Bathurst Museum.
The Gandangara are another clan of Indigenous Australians in South-East New South Wales. They are neighbors of Wiradjuri nation. Their tribal name incorporates terms meaning ‘west’ and ‘east’. Dreaming was also an important factor to the Wiradjuri and Gandangara nation (den Boer, 2012). The dreaming gives Aboriginals the knowledge and sense of security that they had at the beginning of life and the relationship to the land and sea. The dreaming stories give them a sense of duty to protect the land and appreciate it because the