In class today we were told to make a blogpost about Indigenous people in Australia and the story “The Rainbow Serpent”.
Indigenous Australians are not one group; Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders throughout Australia have different thoughts, ideas and beliefs. Australia has always had a mix of cultures and people although not in the same way as it does today. Before 1788 Australia was populated only by the Indigenous people of Australia -Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. In 1788 Aboriginal people inhabited the whole of Australia and Torres Strait Islanders lived on the islands between Australian and Papua New Guinea, in what is now called the Torres Strait. There were many different Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities living in Australia. Before 1788 there were approximately 700 languages spoken throughout Australia with an estimated population of 750 000 people. Today Indigenous people make up 2% of the entire Australian population.
Australia today is a much different place from when the First Fleet arrived in 1788 with convicts and marines. Just as in the past, Indigenous Australians live throughout Australia but now this includes cities, towns, the coast, rural areas and the outback. There is no one Indigenous culture but a mixture of contemporary and traditional thoughts, ways and practices.
We watched a short movie in class, about the indigenous people in Australia. It is called “The rainbow serpent“. It is about a country (Australia) were it was only people, no animals or birds, no trees or bushes, no hills or mountains. The country was flat. Goorialla, the great Rainbow Serpent, set off to look for his own tribe. He travelled across Australia from South to North. He reached Cape York where he stopped and made a big red mountain called Naralullgan. He made trees, animals, plants and lakes.
This is not my country, the people here speak a different language. I must look for my own people. Goorialla left Naralullgan and his huge body made a deep gorge where he came down. He travelled North for many days and his tracks made the creeks and rivers as he journeyed North. Goorialla made two more mountains, one of the Naradunga was long made of granite, the other had sharp peaks and five caves and was called, Minalinha. One day Goorialla heard singing and said, “Those are my people, they are holding a big Bora.” At the meeting place of the two rivers, Goorialla found his own people singing and dancing. He watched for a long time, then he came out and was welcomed by his people. He showed the men how to dress properly and taught them to dance. A big storm was gathering, so all the people built humpies for shelter.
Two young men, the bil-bil or Rainbow Lorikeet brothers came looking for shelter but no one had any room. They asked their grandmother, the Star Woman but she had too many dogs and couldn’t help them. the Bil-bil brothers went to Goorialla who was snoring in his humpy but he had no room. The rain got heavier and the boys went back to Goorialla and called out that the rain was heavy. Goorialla said, “All right come in now.” The Bil-bil bothers ran into Goorialla’s mouth and he swallowed them. Then he began to worry about what the people would say when they found the boys missing. He decided to travel North to Bora-bunaru, the only great natural mountain in the land. Next morning the people found that the boys were gone and saw the tracks of Goorialla and knew that he had swallowed them.
You may never see these lakes or mountains, but after the rain you will see his spirit in the sky, which is the rainbow. This is the reason why he is called Goorialla the Rainbow Serpent.
Aboriginals believe that during the dreamtime the world was created. The story happens during the dreamtime period and the Aboriginals believe that this is how Australia was created. All the animals and plantlife, mountains and hills were created by the Rainbow Serpent, which seems to be a very powerful creature. It even turned two brothers into beautiful parrots with wings as colorful as the rainbow.
The Rainbow Serpent is an important part of the beliefs and culture of the people of western Arnhem Land. Especially in the old Aboriginal mythology. Today the Rainbow Serpent is associated with ceremonies about fertility and abundance, as well as the organisation of the community and the keeping of peace.
I think it is a quite interesting story, and I enjoyed both reading the story and watching the short movie.
I Hope you enjoyed reading my post.