The Significance of the Dreamtime
Men’s corroboree performed at Yuelamu community, Mount Allen, Northern Territory
- All tribes were divided into totemic subsections, which regulated the social system, and this system was derived from the myths of the Dreamtime
- Aboriginal groups and individuals still trace their particular ancestry, or Dreaming, to Spirit Ancestors, such as the Dreamtime Crocodile or the ancestral creator Dingo
- The Aborigines owe their existence to the Spirit Ancestors of the Dreamtime. As a result, they ritually recreate Dreamtime events in order to establish and maintain contact with their Spirit Ancestors. Thus, the people and the Ancestors form a sacred pact to ensure the continuity of all life. Spiritual or ritual practice is the main integrating force of Aboriginal culture and is relevant to all aspects of living since it is believed to be necessary for both physical and spiritual survival.
- “Game won’t increase unless you perform the ceremonies.
That’s what we believe. . .
By singing and dancing the kangaroo ceremony, say, we believe old kangaroo – he’ll breed more. He likes to hear his songs.
That way he feels he’s important. So he goes off and makes more kangaroos.
Which means your people have plenty of tucker to eat.
That’s why ceremony is so important. It keeps the land alive.
Without ceremony the land soon dies. . .
The land needs us just as much as we need it.”
Bill Harney, Wardaman Tribesman from the Katherine region, Northern Territory
- In the Walkabout, the Aboriginal spirit-journey, Aborigines follow preordained routes through their family’s own particular inherited portion of Dreaming country along the paths of the Spirit Ancestors. Along the way, they stop at ancestral sacred sites to perform prescribed ancient secret-sacred ceremonies, or corroborees.
- In areas that have been alienated from Aboriginal culture, “Renewing the Dreaming” camps have been created. These yearly gatherings are designed to rekindle the Dreaming in the hearts and minds of those who are willing to learn and are especially geared toward the younger generations so that they may maintain their cultural heritage.
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