Why Is Law and Kinship Important in Aboriginal Society
For Aborigines, kinship and family are particularly important. Aboriginal people have families and family responsibilities that are not typical of non-Aboriginal families. Aborigines do things by working through their family and kinship structures. For example, a man or woman may be forced to take care of the children of his siblings. Children may call their aunt and uncle “father” or “mother” and their cousins siblings. They know who their real mother and father are, but according to these social laws (kinship), other family members have the same meaning. The usual terms of tenderness among Aborigines are “brother” or “sister” when talking to people. These are derived from kinship terms and associations. A key principle of kinship that differs from family relationships in Western society is that a child will have many mothers and fathers.
People of the same sex and belonging to the same line of siblings are often considered almost the same person. So, if a woman were to have a child, her sisters are often considered the mother of the child, and the same goes for a man and his brothers. This means that a person`s “cousins” are considered their siblings. Indigenous traditions were established in Dreaming, which is the embodiment of Indigenous creation. Dreaming gives meaning to everything and influences the relationships people have with the earth, their environment, each other and their totems. Australia was the original multicultural country with over 500 different nations, each with its own language, beliefs, spirituality and traditions. There have been overlaps and common themes, but it is important to recognise the diversity of Aboriginal peoples across Australia. Many Aboriginal people are currently struggling with the problems associated with not having their extensive Aboriginal network around them when they were growing up. Aboriginal adults who were removed from their families as children may have difficulty improving their parenting skills. They may not understand their own identity and culture.
This can lead to difficulties in educating their own children and connecting them to their Indigenous heritage. It is important to recognize the long-term impact of the “stolen generation” and provide support and guidance where needed. Your local Indigenous support worker will be able to provide you with the appropriate contacts within the broader Indigenous community. Link-Up is an Indigenous organization that works with Indigenous adults who were separated from their families and homes as children. They offer advice and support to connect with family, home and culture. 1. Workers Understanding the concepts of “family” and “kinship” The concept of family in Indigenous culture is closely linked to issues of connectivity and kinship. In this environment, family structures are crucial for identity formation, understanding one`s spiritual and cultural affiliation, and helping to build strong connections with the community. Ultimately, family and kinship are a cohesive constraint that holds Aborigines together.
Unlike Western society, Aborigines attach great importance to belonging to a group and adapting to the obligations and responsibilities of other members of the group. Belonging is an integral part of Indigenous culture, allowing them to connect with their lands and people. With such a sense of “family” and “kinship”, Aborigines like to identify with their family relationships. For example, you might hear an Aboriginal person ask another Aborigine, “Do you know Joe?” They often seek common ground and a “kinship system” in which they fit. It may also be helpful for a non-Indigenous worker to use this strategy and share personal information about them. e.g. where you come from and other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities where you may have worked. In traditional indigenous communities, storytelling is an important aspect of teaching children about life and culture. Elders use storytelling to share their knowledge about dreams, language and traditions. Learn more about these stories.