Aboriginal Australia
May 31, 2006 2:07 PM   Subscribe

Aboriginal AustraliaAIATSIS's map of aboriginal tribes. For some context, AusAnthrop's " Tribal and language database" can be quite useful. (via Savage Minds).
posted by jefgodesky (18 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Excellent—thanks for this! Just to widen the net a bit, here's a map of regional expressions in Aussie English.
posted by languagehat at 3:03 PM on May 31, 2006

I'm a map geek and a language geek, so thank's for the link.

... but the interface is godawful. Couldn't they just make it a single big image file instead of those tiny patches that take an eternity to load?
posted by sour cream at 3:05 PM on May 31, 2006

It's oddly embarrassing on various levels to find out that the name of the local people to me is Tharawal. Thanks for this and I should probably say thanks for no doubt filling my day ahead with a feeling of guilty ennui.
posted by peacay at 3:25 PM on May 31, 2006

Thanks, awe inspiring, guilt inspiring. God I wish I knew how language loss could be slowed, or stopped. Change is fine, wholesale mass-extinction, not so much.
posted by Rumple at 4:03 PM on May 31, 2006

Rumple: Language loss is easy to slow. Just make sure there is no TV in the house.

I was recording stories in Romanes (Gypsy language) from a storyteller in Romania in the early 1990s. Amazing 45 minute epics that the kids would sit around and listen to for a whole night. For them, storytelling was like going to the movies. When Romania started having "normal" TV, the storytelling tradition died. The context - what to do from coming home from virtual-serf labor in the fields until you sleep - was replaced by TV. And when the context for the language dies, so does the need to use the language. Today, in that village, the older Romani words are being supplanted by Romanian and Hungarian loan words, and the storytelling tradition is no longer being transmitted.

I'll go away now....
posted by zaelic at 4:13 PM on May 31, 2006

I used to have this map hanging on my wall :-) Thanks for posting this.
posted by Uccellina at 4:42 PM on May 31, 2006

Related: there's been a new book published called the Macquarie Atlas Of Indigenous Australia, there's supposed to be a web version, but I couldnt find it. If there is one.
posted by dhruva at 5:08 PM on May 31, 2006

The AIATSIS map is an update of Norman Tindale's 1974 map, "Tribal Boundaries in Aboriginal Australia". Tindale began research on his map in the 1930s. The AIATSIS map, prepared by David Horton, blurs the boundaries between different language groups, and notes that the map "indicates only the general location of larger groupings of people, which may include smaller groups such as clans, dialects or individual languages in a group."

These maps were in hot demand in the closing days of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, when many were smuggled out in cylindrical post paks for posterity.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 5:12 PM on May 31, 2006

Unbelievable. I just remembered yesterday that I want to put my copy of this on my daughter's bedroom wall.
posted by rdc at 5:26 PM on May 31, 2006

Well, they didn't have a friggin FLAG, now DID they?
posted by HTuttle at 6:54 PM on May 31, 2006

So, who knows whose land they're currently on? I acknowlege the wurundjeri people, whose lands I live on. (Not that they're on the OP's map.)

HTuttle, what did you mean by your comment? I don't understand.
posted by wilful at 8:20 PM on May 31, 2006

My Uni is built on the land of the Dharug people. There's even a monument to commemorate this.
posted by dhruva at 10:48 PM on May 31, 2006

Does anyone else share with me my cringe at the current fashion towards "acknowledging the traditional owners" at opening ceremonies and such?

I lose count of the number of meetings or conferences I've been to, with an all-whitefella audience, where some other whitefella come up to the podium and mumbles something about acknowledging that this event is taking place on Kaurna land, then gets on with the ceremony.

If you care so much about being on Kaurna land, why are you still on it? Why are there no blackfellas here? We're still acting like colonialists, and paying politically correct lip-service to "traditional owners" whenever there's a free lunch involved pisses me off.

Written from my office on Larrakia land.
posted by Jimbob at 11:41 PM on May 31, 2006

I know Jimbob, but what to do about the years of attempted (cultural) genocide?

Simply reminding people that they are on stolen land is a big step up from the white Australia policy/stolen generation. It is a fairly teeny step towards reconciliation, but it is a step. The idea would be to build on it, I suppose.

You may not have heard the uproar about some native people staying in a park in central Melbourne if you are outside the city. People were completely flabbergasted at the idea. Robbie Thorpe may be an agent provocateur, but I think the comment that oportunities for conciliation like this are always squandered by the government is valid.

People of koorie heritage, sitting under trees in a park! Where do they think they are, WA?

And the Dawn Service is as popular as ever. I have difficulty squaring the two.

The press have been focusing on some nasty stories, which can be used to reinforce the divide between the white and the blackfella.
posted by asok at 1:46 AM on June 1, 2006

Well that's a very good point, asok. As I said above, I'm on Larrakia land (Darwin, that is). Now there are still plenty of Larrakia around. A lot of them hang out in the bushland around Darwin, and are labelled "longgrassers" or simply "itinerants". But the fact is, they've been living in that bushland for 50-odd thousand years.

Now of course, it's not as simple as that. I'm not denying substance abuse is a problem. And a lot of the "longgrassers" aren't Larrakia, they're from other language groups, Yonglu for instance, which causes arguments. And there are even some whitefellas who've "dropped out". But really, if anyone belongs camping on the beach or in the parks, it's the Larrakia, and the whitefellas who arrived yesterday, relatively speaking, should get over it.
posted by Jimbob at 3:57 AM on June 1, 2006

Yolŋu even. Just to show off that fancy character.
posted by Jimbob at 4:03 AM on June 1, 2006

Simply reminding people that they are on stolen land is a big step up from the white Australia policy/stolen generation.

Yes, we could use a little of that here in the States. I don't think most people east of the Mississippi ever give a thought to the fact that they're on land stolen from the Massachusett or the Lenni Lenape or the Cherokee. Sure, "politically correct" hat-tipping is laughably inadequate and can get irritating, but (in my opinion) it's better than plain old oblivion.

Just because it's an opportunity to quote my favorite rap couplet ever, from Brother D and the Collective Effort:
America was built, you understand,
By stolen labor on stolen land.

posted by languagehat at 5:19 AM on June 1, 2006

HTuttle, what did you mean by your comment? I don't understand.

Dumb Eddie Izzard reference.
Get it or forget it.
posted by HTuttle at 2:23 PM on June 1, 2006

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