Discuss about the Indigenous Philosophical Ecology System.
Each individual world over has a worldview which offers them a sense of ordered reality and makes it possible for them to make sense of the world as well as their actions. By enabling individuals to interpret what they observe in the world through a mental framework, the worldview it gives them a sense of security and some level of predictability and certainty. The dreaming is the worldview for indigenous Australian cultures which enabled them to understand and interpret the world as well as enabling them to understand their place in the world as human beings (Bourke, Bourke & Edwards, 1998). The dreaming is a terminology used by the Aboriginals in describing the balances between moral, natural and spiritual elements of the world. Although it is an English word its meaning surpasses any spiritual or dream-related state (Stanner, 2011) Dreaming dates back to the period of the origin of the universe to the period before living experience or memory. Dreaming is also called dream time or world dawn.
This worldview performs three major functions in Indigenous cultures: The dreaming provides individuals with a set of laws and rules for living. These rules apply to social relationships and all activities including social ceremonies religious activities and economic activities. The dreaming also provides an outline for life and the creation of all living forms and finally explains how the universe and everything in it was created or came into existence(Stanner, 2011). It, for example, enables the koorie and Murri language groups to have an understanding of the origin of the universe and enable them to interpret what they observe in the universe and make sense of their actions besides enabling them to understand their role in the universe (Bourke, Bourke & Edwards, 1998). The linkage between Kinship, the dreaming, and economic organization is that while the dreaming is concerned with humans as universal beings and enables them to have an understanding of their universe and their place in it, kinship deals with individuals within their societies and helps them to understand their societies and individual roles role in their societies. The Economic organization presents individuals with income generating opportunities to enable them to carry out their roles and obligations and enable enabling them to survive within the universe and their language groups.
Different bonds bind different people in various societies. Kinship refers to the marriage or blood bond that binds people together. Kinship is a universal concept found in many societies, and it plays a significant role in those societies. It can, therefore, be through blood or marriage. There are various bases of kinship including sex which is focused on sex of blood relationships such as that of a brother and sister, kinship based on blood relationships such as those for linear and collateral relatives, Divisions such as mothers mother and fathers father and those based on close relationships or intimacy such as a husband and father in law (Rose, 2005).
Functions of Kinship
There are numerous roles played by Kinship in Indigenous Australia, including governing the role relationships among kins and organizing economic and social relationships. This is achieved through kinship rules. Kinship also plays a role in determining the rights and obligations of the members of Indigenous Australian Societies. It helps individuals to understand their position in their language group in relation to individuals outside their language group (Kwaymullina,2005). For example, a member of the palawa language group can understand where he or she stands about members of the Nunga group. Trough this; kinship promotes harmonious relationships among members of the same language group or different language groups within Indigenous Australia. Kinship also provided members of Indigenous Australia with a sense of identity and belonging. The strong kinship bonds also provide a sense of security to the members of various language groups (Rose, 2005).
Indigenous Australian Cultures are the oldest in the world dating to over 50000 years ago. The cultural heritage of these groups has been kept alive over the years through the protection of cultural materials and a passing of cultural knowledge across generations. Indigenous Australia is used to refer to the Torres Strait Islander and the Aboriginal people of Australia. Although there are similarities between these indigenous Australian groups, there are also numerous differences in their culture, language, and customs which are characteristic of the various indigenous language groups (Colson, 2013). While kinship gives a sense of belonging and identity to individuals, the dreaming presents them with an opportunity to understand how they came into being together with the universe in which they live. The Economic organization enables them to meet their obligations within their language groups.
Economic Organization refers to a set of actions controlling the factors of production. It involves the ownership and right to makes decisions of the factor of production (Altman, 2000). Economic organization can also be defined as the system that a society devises to meet material needs. These factors of production include land, capital and labour. The following section will explore the role and function of the economic organization to indigenous Australian life with examples. It will also refer to diverse economic organization of the indigenous Australians.
The indigenous Australians economic organization was subsistence. The aboriginals mostly worked to settle their subsistence needs. There were three main economic activities that indigenous Australian was engaged to; first, they practiced hunting and gathering. The aboriginals’ men hunted animals while women gathered plant food and shellfish for food. The hunting and gathering was done within the area that the community occupied (Peterson, 2005). Secondly, the indigenous Australians were involved in fishing. Some of the aboriginals in Australia had camps along the coast lines and rivers in order to practice fishing. The Aboriginal men fished with spears while women fished with hook and lines. The Indigenous Australians extensively depended on marine resources for subsistence. Another main economic activity for indigenous Australian was exchange. Aboriginal men and women exchanged fish and crayfish for sugar and tea. The dependence to subsistence economy led to indigenous Australian to have low standards of living. After pre-colonial period in 18th Century, the Aboriginals were involved in other economic activities such as agriculture and manufacturing as labourers (Altman, 1987).
An example of economic of organization for indigenous Australian was Yuin tribe where the father pointed out the child the land that the child could hunt, fish and have power of it. This meant that the child would grow assuming all the rights of the land and making decisions on the output of the land (Bennett, 2007). The diversity among the indigenous Australian in terms of economic organization was evident. Indigenous people who camped in the coastal areas mainly engaged in fishing while those in dry land practiced hunting and gathering.
In summary, economic organization can be easily linked to Kinship, The Dream and the culture. The culture determined how factors of production were distributed and was common to people in the same kinship. This influenced the social interaction and thinking among the indigenous Australians.
Altman, J. C. (1987). Hunter-gatherers today: an Aboriginal economy in north Australia. Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island.
Bennett, M. (2007). The economics of fishing: sustainable living in colonial New SouthWales. Aboriginal History, 85-102.
Bourke, C., Bourke, E., & Edwards, W. H. (Eds.). (1998). Aboriginal Australia: An introductory reader in Aboriginal studies. Macmillan.
Colson, M. (2013). Indigenous Australian cultures. London: Raintree.
Kwaymullina, A. (2005). Seeing the light: Aboriginal law, learning and sustainable living in country. Indigenous Law Bulletin, 6(11), 12-15.
Rose, D. (2005). An indigenous philosophical ecology: situating the human. The Australian Journal of Anthropology, 16(3), 294-305.
Stanner, W. E. H. (2011). The dreaming and other essays. ReadHowYouWant. com.