Storytelling ensures that Aboriginal heritage
is passed on to the younger people.
Storytelling in Aboriginal Australia
(An Australian Aboriginal)
In Aboriginal Australian
society storytelling makes up a large part of everyday life. Storytelling is not
only about entertaining people but is also vital in educating children about
Storytelling is used in a
variety of ways. It is used to teach children how they should behave and why,
and to pass on knowledge about everyday life such as how and when to find
certain foods. Stories are also used to explain peoples' spirituality, heritage
and the laws. Dreaming stories pass on information to young people about
creation, how the land was formed and populated, creation of plants, animals and
humans, information about ancestral beings and places, the boundaries of
peoples' tribal lands, how ancestors came to Australia, how people migrated
across the country and arrived in a particular part of the country.
But not all information can
be known by all people. Some information can only be revealed to certain people.
This information is known as sacred. For example some sacred information can
only be told to certain initiated women or men after they have carried out
certain initiation rites.
The elders use every
opportunity to educate the children about the way of life of their people.
Stories are told while walking down to the waterhole or grinding up seeds to
make damper (bread) or sitting around the campfire at night. As children grew
older more information is passed on about their culture. Once a person becomes
an adult they are responsible for passing on the information they had learned to
the younger people.
Storytelling ensures that
Aboriginal heritage is passed on to the younger people. This is how Dreaming
stories have been passed down for thousands of years and continue to be passed
Today storytelling in
Indigenous Australia is still a very important way of passing on information to
people. For thousands of years information has been passed on through stories
and songs. Today you can also see and hear it in many types of music, plays,
poetry, books, artwork, on television and on the Web and you can now read in
books the traditional stories that were once only spoken.
These stories keep alive the
traditions and heritage of Indigenous Australia not only within Indigenous
communities but also within the wider community. This helps to increase
understanding and awareness between people.
Today, as well as elders in
the communities, we have professional story tellers who visit schools and other
educational groups passing on their knowledge about Indigenous culture and
Why is storytelling so
important to Australian Aboriginals?