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Aboriginal or Indigenous Australians are the original inhabitants of the continent, Australia. For tens of thousands of years, these people have created and maintained a strong and vibrant culture, filled with beautiful art and music, amazing stories, and unique languages. They have also had to face an enormous amount of hate and racism. Despite all of this, many Australians know very little about the history and culture of the indigenous and Torres Strait Islander peoples. With that in mind, here are five amazing facts about the Australian Aboriginal peoples.

There Is No Single Culture

Despite Aboriginal people being grouped together as one, there are actually a number of different nations and distinct social groups that the Torres Strait Islander and indigenous people can belong to. Each of these nations or social groups has its own culture and beliefs, as well as its own distinct language. There are some similarities between these cultures, as well as a bit of overlap, but the important differences are what make each of these communities unique.

It’s The Oldest Living Civilisation

When asked about their arrival to Australia, most Aboriginal people would say with conviction that they’ve always been here, and, although this may not be completely accurate, it may as well be. After all, there is archeological and scientific evidence that shows that the Torres Strait Islanders and Aboriginal people have been inhabited this continent for at least 65,000 years, which, for all practical purposes, is forever. This also makes it the oldest living civilisation on the entire Earth.

They Treat Their Deceased Differently

Many cultural rules and protocols guide Indigenous communities, especially when it comes to death. The practices and rituals marking the death of an Aboriginal person tend to be unique to each community and differ massively from what non-Aboriginal people are used to. This is why funeral plans specifically for Aboriginals are so important. Out of respect for the dead, most Indigenous people also refrain from mentioning the names the deceased for at least a year.

There Are Hundreds Of Languages

These days, around one hundred Indigenous languages are still spoken among communities, with that number decreasing on a regular basis. However, years ago, this figure was a lot higher, with around two hundred and fifty languages being used all across Australia. That being said, Australian English has borrowed a large number of words from Aboriginal languages, with nouns like koala, boomerang, and wombat still being spoken every single day.

The Culture Remains Vibrant Today

The Indigenous culture may be ancient, but don’t make the mistake of assuming it’s extinct. With rituals, stories, art, and music, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander traditions remain well and truly alive. What’s more, despite the images popularly depicted, the Indigenous culture isn’t confined to the outback or the bush. In fact, a large percentage of Aboriginal Australians live in major cities and towns, making Australia’s First Peoples very present in modern urban life.

Many Australians know very little about the First Peoples to call this continent home, but, hopefully, the information above has helped to shed light on their vibrant culture.