Aboriginal Proverbs

Aboriginal Australians refer to the people who are members of the several hundred Indigenous peoples of Australia. The category Aboriginal Australia was coined by the British after they began colonizing Australia in 1788. The term was used to refer collectively to all the people they found already inhabiting the continent, and later to the descendants of any of those people. The Constitution of Australia, in its original form as of 1901, referred to Aboriginals twice, but without definition.

Before the British colonization of Australia, there existed several hundred groupings of Indigenous peoples of Australia with their own defined territory. Within each region or country, people lived in clan groups: extended families defined by various forms of Australian Aboriginal kinship. Inter-clan contact was frequent, as was inter-country communication, but there were strict protocols around this contact.

The Australian Aboriginal languages, before colonization, consisting of over 300 languages belonging to an estimated twenty-eight language families. Today, the most significant single language group of Aboriginal people live in the area around Uluru (Ayers Rock) and south into South Australia. The second-largest Aboriginal distinct community lives in and around Alice Springs in the Northern Territory.

Boomerang Aboriginal Weapons Australian Toy

… from time immemorial, we believe as Aboriginal people, Australia has been here from the first sunrise, our people have been here along with the continent, with the first sunrise. We know our land was given to us by Baiami, we have a sacred duty to protect that land, we have a sacred duty to protect all the animals that we have an affiliation with through our totem system … – Australian Aboriginal proverb

A 1000 miles journey starts with a single step. – Australian Aboriginal proverb

Being Aboriginal is not the color of your skin or how broad your nose is. It is a spiritual feeling, an identity you know in your heart. … It is a unique feeling that is difficult for non-Aboriginal to fully understand. – Australian Aboriginal proverb

Hypocrite – mouth one way, belly ‘nother. – Australian Aboriginal proverb

Keep your eyes on the sun and you will not see the shadows. – Australian Aboriginal proverb

Land is a central part of the connection to country and to our identity as people. Many of our significant sites, landscapes, customs and stories focus on connection to land. Land is therefore very important to our culture, history and future. – Australian Aboriginal proverb

May as well be here, we are as where we are. – Australian Aboriginal proverb

The Aboriginal Sunrise Ceremonies are very special to our people. It starts when the sky is black, beautiful black. When the sun’s yellow circle arrives, it turns the sky red. This is why the Aboriginal flag is half red, half black with a yellow circle in the middle. At the Sunrise Ceremony, I meditate and ask the Great Spirit for direction. My hands fill with electricity. I touch you and you feel it, too. I heal people this way. My Grandmother did that, too. I learned all about that when I was a young fellow. Umbarra, the Black Duck, is the special totem of our tribe, the Yuin. We learn to respect the elders who hand on the Law. The elders guard the Law and the Law guards the people. This is the Law that comes from the mountain. The mountain teaches the dreaming. – Australian Aboriginal proverb

The land owns us. – Australian Aboriginal proverb

The more you know, the less you need. – Australian Aboriginal proverb

Those who lose dreaming are lost. – Australian Aboriginal proverb

Those who play at bowls must look out for rubbers. – Australian Aboriginal proverb

Traveler, there are no paths. Paths are made by walking. – Australian Aboriginal proverb

We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love… and then we return home. – Australian Aboriginal proverb

As an Aboriginal person who grew up unable to speak my language I feel I have been denied a core part of my identity, and it is a deep wound.

The first time I said something in my language in public, Ngaya Ngamitjimitong – I belong to the Ngamitji clan – I broke down and wept in front of 400 people.

Speaking my language was a visceral experience that left me weeping for something I couldn’t articulate. A loss so deep it was breathtaking. I have seen many Aboriginal people have the same reaction as they begin the journey back to speaking in their own language. – Jakelin Troy

Australian Aboriginal Proverbs

Current Aboriginal Quotes

All knowledge is connected to all other knowledge. The fun is in making the connections. – Arthur C. Aufderheide

At the Sunrise Ceremony, I meditate and ask the Great Spirit for direction. My hands fill with electricity. I touch you, and you feel it, too. I heal people this way. My Grandmother did that, too. I learned all about that when I was a young fellow… We learn to respect the elders who hand on the Law. The elder’s guard The Lore and the Law guard the people. This is the Law that comes from the mountain. The mountain teaches the dreaming. -Guboo Ted Thomas

Being Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islanders is not the colour of your skin or how broad your nose is. It is a spiritual feeling, an identity you know in your heart. … It is a unique feeling that is difficult for non-Aboriginal people to fully understand. – Australian Aboriginal saying

Here in Australia we’re fortunate enough to have one of the richest and oldest continuing cultures in the world. This is something we should all be proud of and celebrate. – Dr Tom Calma AO

I grew up in rural NSW and had always felt a bond to the land where I grew up it is like an invisible bond that calls me back” I had many preconceived ideas growing up about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander though once I started working with these communities I felt I had come home. It was a mutually respectful relationship, Indigenous sense of time and space, strong bonds within family and acceptance of my wanting to learn culture and lore. – Linda Burney

It’s not the way you look, it’s not about the colour of your skin, it’s about being accepted and understood as Aboriginal within the community. – Linda Burney

Language loss is so core to our identity as peoples it has had a profound effect on our social and emotional wellbeing, affecting our health and our capacity to thrive economically, socially and educationally. – Dr Jakelin Troy

Our spirituality is a oneness and an interconnectedness with all that lives and breathes, even with all that does not live or breathe. – Mudrooroo

Racism is a disease in society. We’re all equal. I don’t care what their color is, or religion. Just as long as they’re human beings they’re my buddies. – Mandawuy Yunupingu

Reconciliation will not work if it puts a higher value on symbolic gestures rather than the practical needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in areas like health, housing, education and employment. – Warren Mundine AO

Second only to the original language of Sydney Cove, Noongar has given more words to the English language than any other Indigenous Australian language. – Alan Dench

So I take this word reconciliation and I use it to reconcile people back to Mother Earth, so they can walk this land together and heal one another because she’s the one that gives birth to everything we see around us, everything we need to survive. – Max Dulumunmun Harrison

Australian Aboriginal Proverbs

The land is my backbone… I only stand straight, happy, proud, and not ashamed about my color because I still have land… I think of land as the history of my nation. – Galarrwuy Yunipingu

The land is my mother. Like a human mother, the land gives us protection, enjoyment and provides our needs – economic, social and religious. We have a human relationship with the land: Mother, daughter, son. When the land is taken from us or destroyed, we feel hurt because we belong to the land and we are part of it. – Djinyini Gondarra

The one word ‘Yes’ on May 27 will open the door for real reform. It will tell the world at large that there is only one Australian, and his colour doesn’t matter at all. – Faith Bandler

The true essence of reconciliation is more than making friends with non-Indigenous people. Our motto is a united Australia, one that respects the land and the heritage of its Indigenous peoples and provides justice and equity for all. – Jackie Huggins

This earth, I never damage. I look after. Fire is nothing, just clean up. When you burn, new grass coming up. That means good animal soon, Might be goanna, possum, wallaby. Burn him off, new grass coming up, new life all over. – Bill Neidjie

To us, health is about so much more than simply not being sick. It’s about getting a balance between physical, mental, emotional, cultural and spiritual health. Health and healing are interwoven, which means that one can’t be separated from the other.– Dr Tamara Maclean

We all know how to say yes in Spanish don’t we? We all know how to say yes in German don’t we? We all know how to say yes in French don’t we? Do we know how to say yes in any of the 360 Aboriginal dialects in this country? – Ernie Dingo, Aboriginal actor and Yamatji man

We are all here now and we have to solve our differences and live together as Australians … I will use the title you have honoured me with to bring the Australian people together … Together, we can build a remarkable country, the envy of the rest of the world. – Lowitja O’Donoghue

We cultivated our land, but in a way different from the white man. We endeavored to live with the land; they seemed to live off it. I was taught to preserve, never to destroy. – Tom Dystra

We have our eye on the same destination – a sustainable future where Indigenous people are recognized for their wisdom and honored for their culture – there is no problem taking a different path to reach that place. – Kirstie Parker

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