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02 MAY 2015

Aboriginal People's Relationship to Land

"Every different clan group has stories about their beginnings. Stories are like our archives, detailing how Creator Beings from under the earth arose to shape the land and to create the landscape. There are myriad variations of the story, but the theme stays the same.

The whole surface of the earth was like a moonscape, no features, no flora and fauna, just bare open plain. But there were Creator Beings sleeping in a state of potentiality just under the surface. At a certain time they were disturbed, whereupon their potentiality transformed into actuality and they arose out of the ground. When they finally emerged, they were very big and tall. These beings were spirit ancestors of many of the varieties of flora and fauna, especially large animals, in Australia. When this emergence was completed, the spirit ancestors started to interact with one another, fighting, dancing, running about, making love, killing. All of this activity shaped the Australian landscape as we know it today.

Throughout this period humans remained asleep in various embryonic forms, in a state like a kind of proto-humanity. They were awakened by all the activity above; the Creator Beings helped these proto-humans to become fully human, teaching them the Laws of custodianship of land, the Laws of kinship, of marriage, of correct ceremonies-they gave them every kind of knowledge they needed to look after the land and to have a stable society.

When this work was finished, the Creator Beings went back into the land, where they all still remain in the same eternal sleep from which they awakened at the beginning of time. The locations to which they returned have always been and are still today regarded as very important sacred sites.

Wherever the Creator Beings travelled, they left tracks or some kind of evidence of themselves. These traces determined the identity of the people. In other words, every Aboriginal person has a part of the essence of one of the original creative spirits who formed the Australian landscape. Therefore each person has a charter of custodianship empowering them and making them responsible for renewing that part of the flora and its fauna. The details of this metaphysics varied widely across the land with the physical environment, but the spiritual basis-the understanding that what separates humans from animals is the fact that each human bears a creative and spiritual identity which still resides in land itself-provided and still provides in many places the religious, social, political and economic force throughout Aboriginal Australia."

(Mary Graham, 2008)

Australian Humanities Review 45 (November 2008): "Mary Graham: Philosophical Underpinnings of Aboriginal Worldviews". This essay was originally published in Worldviews: Environment, Culture, Religion 3 (1999): 105-118.

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Aboriginal Australia • Aboriginal mythology • Aboriginal worldviews • ancestral beings • Association for the Study of Australian Literature (ASAL) • Australian Humanities Review (AHR) • Australian landscape • beginnings • belonging • charter of custodianship • clan • clan group • creation narrative • creative and spiritual identity • Creator Beings • custodianship • customs • embryonic forms • eternal sleep • fauna • florafolkloreIndigenous Australians • Juanita Bailey • Kombu-merri person • landland custodianshiplandmarkslandscape • Lilla Watson • Lin Morrow • Mary Grahammetaphysics • open plain • origin mythphysical environment • potentiality • proto-human • proto-humanity • sacred sites • spirit ancestors • symbolic placetimeless time • under the earth • under the surface • worldview

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
01 JANUARY 2013

The Value of Culture: Culture and the Anthropologists

"Melvyn Bragg continues his exploration of the idea of culture by considering its use in the discipline of anthropology. In 1871 the anthropologist Edward Tylor published Primitive Culture, an enormously influential work which for the first time placed culture at the centre of the study of humanity. His definition of culture as the 'capabilities and habits acquired by man' ensured that later generations saw culture as common to all humans, and not simply as the preserve of writers and philosophers."

(Melvyn Bragg, 2013)

"The Value of Culture: Culture and the Anthropologists", Radio broadcast, Episode 2 of 5, Duration: 42 minutes, First broadcast: Monday 01 January 2013, Presenter/Melvyn Bragg, Producer/Thomas Morris for the BBC Radio 4, UK.

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187119th centuryanima • animism • anthropologist • anthropologybelief systemsbeliefsborrowing • borrowings • capabilities and habits • Charles Lyell • civilisation • complex societies • cultural characteristics • cultural evolutionism • cultural relativismcultureculturescustoms • development of religions • early cultures • Edward Tylor • ethnographersethnographic study • evolution of culture • faith • force of habit • habithabitshistoricismhistoricist • human behaviours • human culture • human customs • human customs and behaviours • humanity • idea of culture • Indigenousleisure timematerial cultureMelvyn Bragg • Pitt Rivers • prehistory • Primitive Culture (book) • primitive cultures • religion • religious belief • science • scientific study • social anthropologysocietysoul • study of humanity • survivals • symbolic behaviourThe Value of Culture (radio)

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
30 OCTOBER 2012

Birth and Death in The Romanian Folk Belief

"Romanian traditions and customs, which accompany the important events of life have been and still are under investigation by researchers in various fields, including folklorists and ethnographers.

The ethnographic research is mostly characterised by concrete information, collected in the studied areas, by a variety of facts, by attempts to describe the accomplishment of each custom and, in some cases by attempts to find out their role and significance in social life. Among these works the first to mention are the volumes published by Simion Florea Marin in Bucuresti in 1892 and dedicated to the three great cycles of customs connected with birth, wedding and death."

(Joanna Kretsu–Kantsyr)

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1892 • birthbirth and death • Bucuresti • customsdeath • Dragaica • ethnographersethnographic research • folk belief • folklore • folklorists • pagan traditionRomania • Romanian customs • Romanian tradition • Simion Florea Marin • social life • summer solstice • wedding • winter solstice

CONTRIBUTOR

Valeria Marti
15 JANUARY 2011

Foli: there is no movement without rhythm

"dedicated to the people of Baro.

Life has a rhythm, it's constantly moving. The word for rhythm (used by the Malinke tribes) is Foli. It is a word that encompasses so much more than drumming, dancing or sound. It's found in every part of daily life. In this film you not only hear and feel rhythm but you see it. It's an extraordinary blend of image and sound that feeds the senses and reminds us all –how essential it is.

By the brothers Thomas Roebers en Floris Leeuwenberg. Film crew during one month in Baro, Guinee Afrika. Beutifull sound recording and sound design Bjorn Warning. Translator and Rhythm specialist Thomas Bonenkamp. With special thanks to the chief: DJEMBEFOLA |: Mansa Camio"

(Thomas Roebers and Floris Leeuwenberg, 2010)

[An 11–minute documentary that uses rhythm: both musical and spoken, as its central linking device.]

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2010Africa • Baro • beatcompositioncultural identitycultural practicecultural studiesculture • customary practices • customsdaily lifedancediegeticdiegetic sounddocumentarydrummingediting • Floris Leeuwenberg • Foli • Guinea-Conakry • Malinke • musicpattern • Republic of Guinea • rhythm • rhythmic daily life • sequence designsoundspectacle • Thomas Roebers • traditiontraditional practicestribevillage

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
15 JANUARY 2010

The Indigenous Peoples of the Philippines

"In the Philippines, the term 'indigenous peoples' is legally defined by Republic Act No. 8371, otherwise known as the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997. IPRA defined 'indigenous peoples' (IPs) or 'indigenous cultural communities' (ICCs) as:

A group of people or homogenous societies identified by self–ascription and ascription by others, who have continuously lived as organized community on communally bounded and defined territory, and who have, under claims of ownership since time immemorial, occupied, possessed and utilized such territories, sharing common bonds of language, customs, traditions and other distinctive cultural traits, or who have, through resistance to political, social and cultural inroads of colonization, nonindigenous regions and cultures, became historically differentiated from the majority of Filipinos. ICCs/IPs shall likewise include peoples who are regarded as indigenous on account of their descent from the populations which inhabited the country at the time of conquest or colonization, or at the time of inroads of non–indigenous religions and cultures, or the establishment if present state boundaries, who retain some or all of their own social, economic, cultural and political institutions, but who may have been displaced from their traditional domains or who may have resettled outside their ancestral domains (IPRA, Section 3h)."

(Nestor T. Castro)

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1997ancestral domainsAsiaAsianbelongingcolonialismculturescustomsethnographic researchethnography • Filipinos • historically differentiated • homogeneous societies • ICC • identity • IFSSO • Indigenous • indigenous cultural communities • Indigenous peopleindigenous peoples • Indigenous Peoples Rights Act • International Federation of Social Science Organisations • IPRA • language • non-indigenous • Pacific Rim • peoples • Philippines • self-ascription • settlementsocietySouth East Asianterritorytraditional domainstraditions

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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