ESSAY (Aboriginal Belief Systems & Spirituality)
Religion informs every aspect of Aboriginal life, giving a spiritual understanding of the environment, of human beings and their place in that environment and of relations between people. The foundation of Aboriginal religious belief if the "Dreaming." The dreaming is a complicated concept with multiple meanings but for the Aboriginal people, the dreaming represents the beginning of life and nature, the beginning of all patterns and cycles associated with the environment and the creation of the world in its present form. At a certain point powerful spiritual beings emerged and were also referred to by the term dreaming. The dreaming traveled across the landscape in various life forms along what they called dreaming tracks and in their adventures gave the country its shape. They are said to still be there today as an Aboriginal may refer to his/her ancestors as "My Dreaming."
In 1770 Captain Cooks encounter with the aboriginal people was marked with violence but the European colonization of the continent which followed 8 years later can only be described in terms of an invasion.
This event was to bring devastating consequences for the aboriginal people who were occupying the country and living their lives in accordance with their own spiritual beliefs, laws, values and knowledge of the world. White European settlement brought with it the destruction of whole aboriginal communities and the decimation of the fabric to aboriginal society. The European views of the Australian continent, as "terra nullus" is significant as the whites did not recognize aboriginal communities as being civilized or as having and land rights.
The initial reaction from the aboriginals when the white man arrived was to welcome them, but this soon changed when they realised that these people ruptured the balance and order of human life...