Articles on Indigenous culture

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Wild horses, known as brumbies, in Australia. Shutterstock.com

Friday essay: the cultural meanings of wild horses

From 30,000-year-old cave paintings to The Man From Snowy River, wild horses have always been part of human culture. As Australia debates what to do with 'brumbies' in mountain environments, it's time to reconsider their place.
Yothu Yindi performing in 2000. Their songs offered hope and strength to generations of Yolŋu people. Dean Lewins/AAP

My favourite album: Yothu Yindi’s Tribal Voice

The songs of Tribal Voice offered hope and strength to generations of Yolŋu people and gave audiences elsewhere a rare insight into the resolve and aspirations of Indigenous Australia.
A watercolour of a dingo, pre-1793, from John Hunter’s drawing books. By permission of The Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons, London.

Living blanket, water diviner, wild pet: a cultural history of the dingo

In Indigenous culture, dingoes were prized as companions, garments and hunting aids. Europeans later tried to tame dingoes as 'pets' but their wild nature has prevailed.
Rosie Tasman Napurrurla, Warlpiri 2002, Ngurlu Jukurrpa (‘Grass Seed; Bush Grain Dreaming’), line etching on Hahnemuhle paper. Warnayaka Art Centre, Lajamanu, and Aboriginal Art Prints Network, Sydney

Jukurrpa-kurlu Yapa-kurlangu-kurlu

The theme of this year's NAIDOC week is "Our Languages Matter". Aboriginal languages under threat across Australia. Read a Warlpiri introduction to Dreamtime and The Dreaming.
Remote mountain regions like the Upper Mustang in Nepal are often neglected by the rest of the world. Timothy Karpouzoglou

Harnessing the hidden power of mountains to meet our climate and development goals

Remote mountain regions are closer to the climate problem than we think, particularly in the context of safeguarding essential ecosystem services such as safe and adequate water.
Policies and services designed to protect Aboriginal children’s cultural connections are not being properly implemented. AAP Image/Dan Peled

Australia failing to safeguard cultural connections for Aboriginal children in out-of-home care

New reports show a widespread lack of care for the cultural needs of many of the 19,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in child protection and out-of-home care.
From a battle over an oil pipeline in the American mid-west to small Australian communities fighting for survival, Indigenous people are harnessing social media to take their stories global. Joe Brusky/Flickr

12 deadly Indigenous Australian social media users to follow

Indigenous people make up small percentages of the population in many countries – but using social media, Indigenous voices can be heard worldwide. Here are a dozen deadly Australians worth following.
Magnolia Maymuru, who hails from the remote community of Yirrkala. George Fragopoulos/Miss World Australia

Can Aboriginal beauty break through the colour bar?

Magnolia Maymuru, the Northern Territory's representative at the Miss World national finals, is a trailblazer. But will she escape the racialised exoticism that has long plagued Indigenous women?
Dan Peled/AAP

Why is it still possible to climb Uluru?

Uluru's traditional owners have asked for decades that tourists not climb their sacred site. Parks Australia has committed to closing the climb – but only when some ambitious goals have been met.
A picture of strength: lifelong activist Bonita Mabo OA in front of her portrait as a young woman, which features in her granddaughter Boneta-Marie Mabo’s first solo exhibition. Josef Ruckli, courtesy of the State Library of Queensland

Black Velvet: redefining and celebrating Indigenous Australian women in art

Boneta-Marie Mabo's art responds to a colonial past in which Aboriginal women were fetishised as "black velvet". But it also celebrates strong women, including her activist grandmother Bonita Mabo.
There are some simple principles that would strengthen Aboriginal heritage protection. Monkey Mia, Shark Bay in Western Australia. Grant Matthews

Four ways Western Australia can improve Aboriginal heritage management

Aboriginal heritage has had significant protections removed in Western Australia. Following principles of respect and consultation would be a huge step forward for Aboriginal cultural management.

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