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Pilbara Aboriginal Cultures

 

There are more than 31 Aboriginal cultural groups in the Pilbara. Most groups are referred to as language groups. Each culture has a traditional location where their people practised a hunter-gatherer and fire-stick farming lifestyle. A cyclical movement through the cultural group's land was determined by the availability of seasonal foods and water.

 

The cultures are highly spiritual with links to specific land features and locations. Custodianship obligations, care for specific land areas and the initiation of boys into tribal Law forms much of the cultural and spiritual activities.

 

Today Pilbara Indigenous culture still follows traditional Law patterns, processes and custodian duties. The beliefs that Dreamtime beings, who created the land features, control the water and provide food supplies, are still in existence in the land features, is still strongly felt throughout the Pilbara.

 

However, movement off traditional land due to European settlement, and changes in the land due to the impact of pastoral, mining and settlements, has changed the way traditional Law is practised. This process of change is still underway as Aboriginal people search for a balance between their custodian role and their involvement in wider Australian society.

 

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