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Australian Aboriginal Tribes & Heritage

How does one turn back the hands of time? While the concept of having a time machine remains a popular subject in fiction, getting a glimpse of the past is possible through the living. Artifacts and fossils are not the only tangible remnants of the past. By meeting people who stay true to their heritage and ancient roots, you get a picture of how a country used to be.


In Australia alone, you’ll meet a lot of people who not only look a lot like their ancestors, but also continue to practice their ancient rituals. These people are often called Australian Aboriginal tribes or simply Australian Aborigines. They are descendants of people who inhabited this country before the British colonization in 1788.

From New South Wales to Tasmania to Victoria to Queensland, the Australian Aborigines are literally everywhere in this country. Those with the largest communities are the Pitjantjatjara, Arrernte and the Luritja.


Besides being the name for the aborigines living in the Northern territory of Australia, Pitjantjatjara is the language spoken by these people as well as the name for the Central Australian desert. Anangu is the name they use to refer to themselves.

The influence of the Pitjantjatjara extends from the area near Uluru (Ayers Rock) to the Nullarbor Plain (Northern territory to South Australia). Their population is said to be about 4,000 with their communities scattered in small groups.

While the Pitjantjatjara have a lot of sacred sites, the Uluru remains to be the most famous among them. It’s unfortunate for them, though, that this spiritual haven became a national park and major tourist attraction.


Arrernte is also a name for the language spoken by the Aborigines living in the area near Alice Springs. This language is actually a compulsory subject in most primary schools in this place. While most high schools here offer students the option to study this language, there is a plan to include it as a university subject. For this reason, it’s no wonder that 25% of residents in Alice Springs speak Arrernte as their mother tongue.


The influence of the Luritja people and language is so extensive that many dialects have sprung from it. The Luritja territory includes the areas covering the west and south of Alice Springs.

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