Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

FAQ about Aboriginal culture

What’s the Aboriginal word/name for…?

There are 250 answers to this question. This is how many Aboriginal languages existed prior to European invasion. Only about 35 of them are not critically endangered today.

If you need an Aboriginal word for an English term, I suggest the following approach:

  1. Research which Aboriginal group lived in the area that you think is associated with your product, service or “thing”.
  2. Find which Aboriginal languages were spoken in that area. Is there a language that’s still spoken?
  3. Try to find an Aboriginal person speaking that language by contacting the Aboriginal Land Council in charge of that area.

Note that Aboriginal people might react dismissively if they don’t see a genuine and respectful intention and use of their language.

How can I be a little bit like an Aboriginal person?

You might have read a novel, or learned something exciting about Aboriginal culture, and now you feel like you want to incorporate that into your life.

My advice is simple: Don’t do that. In 99% of the cases it might offend Aboriginal people.

Some fans have coloured their skin and worn wigs to celebrate an Aboriginal sports star, a woman has played the didgeridoo, an American author has pretended to be one of them, and many tourists climbed Uluru— but they all ended up offending Aboriginal protocols and people. Aboriginal culture is complex and founded (among other things) on respect.

Take your enthusiasm and learn more about Aboriginal culture and then spread the word.

Are all Aboriginal sites sacred?

It is a common misconception that Aboriginal sites are all ‘sacred sites’. While it is true that some places are considered sacred, such as ceremonial or initiation grounds, the great majority of Aboriginal places (campsites for example), relate to the pursuance of everyday activities. [1]

How can I help Aboriginal people or communities?

Please avoid telling Aboriginal people what’s best for them. This has happened too many times already. “People are carrying a lot of pain,” an Aboriginal leader explained to a friend of mine, “they’ve got to let some of it out before you can get down to brass tacks [basic facts].” [2]

Instead, contact the closest Local Aboriginal Land Council of the area you visit or live in.

Check the list of Aboriginal Land Councils.

Am I Aboriginal?

“I’ve been told I have Aboriginal background…”—What do you do if you face this life-changing question?

I’ve collected some options in the section How do I prove I am Aboriginal?.

FAQ about Aboriginal resources

Can I order CDs, DVDs from you?

My resources section only lists Aboriginal CDs, DVDs and books. I don’t stock or sell them, but offer links to resellers where I know they stock them.

If a resource is not available commercially try following the links to libraries.

Where can I get a specific movie?

Check my list of distributors which lists also alternative ways of getting DVDs.

FAQ about this website

What are your sources? Do you have any references?

I try to include as many references as I can when writing my articles. Each time I reference I put a number into square brackets like so [10], and repeat it at the bottom of the page where you find the source next to this number. Only the very early material might not have a reference.

I do not have any formal training in Aboriginal studies, but have been interested and active in this area since the mid-1990s. You can find some acknowledgment of my work published on this site on the About page.

Can I advertise on

You sure can! Please check my page about advertising opportunities.


View article sources (2)

1. ^ ‘Indigenous Heritage - Aboriginal culture’, leaflet, Parks, Conservation and Lands (PCL), Department of Territory and Municipal Services, 2008
2. ^ ‘A put-up job that boomeranged?’,, retrieved 4/2/2012