Australian Aborigines ( ,
Aboriginal Australians) are a class of people who are identified by
Australian law as being members of a
indigenous to the Australian continent.
High Court of
Australia, Australian Aborigines have been specifically
identified as a group of people who share, in common, biological
ancestry back to the original occupants of the
of the High Court
famously described and defined an Australian Aboriginal person
"..a person of Aboriginal descent, albeit mixed,
who identifies himself as such and who is recognised by the
Aboriginal community as an Aboriginal.."
From Australian Aborigines
Eve Fesl, a Gabi Gabi
woman, wrote in the Aboriginal Law
Bulletin describing how she and other Australian Aborigines
preferred to be identified:
"The word 'aborigine' refers to an indigenous
person of any country. If it is to be used to refer to us
as a specific group of people, it should be spelt with a capital
'A', i.e. 'Aborigine'..."
More recently, Lowitja O'Donoghue
, commenting on the
prospect of possible amendments to Australia's constitution
quoted in an article entitled 'Call us Aboriginal' as saying:
"I really can't tell you of a time when
'indigenous' became current, but I personally have an objection to
it, and so do many other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
people.... This has just really crept up on us ... like
thieves in the night."
"We're very happy with our involvement with
indigenous people around the world, on the international forum ...
because they're our brothers and sisters...But we do object to it
being used here in Australia."
From Australian academia
Dean of Indigenous Research and Education at Charles Darwin University
Professor MaryAnn Bin-Sallik, has publicly lectured on the ways
Australian Aborigines have been categorised and labelled over
"Professor Bin-Sallik’s lecture offered a new
perspective on the terms “urban” and “traditional” and “of
Indigenous descent” as used to define and categorise Aboriginal
“Not only are these categories inappropriate, they
serve to divide us,” Professor Bin-Sallik said.
“Government’s insistence on categorising us with
modern words like ‘urban’, ‘traditional’ and ‘of Aboriginal
descent’ are really only replacing old terms ‘half-caste’ and
‘full-blood’ – based on our colouring.”
"She called for a replacement of this terminology
by the word: Aborigine ... “irrespective of
Peoples within the class
400 and more distinct Australian Aboriginal peoples
identified across the Australian continent, each distinguished by
unique names for groups of people's ancestral
languages, dialects, or distinctive
- Plevitz, Loretta D & Croft, Larry (2003)
"Aboriginality Under The Microscope: The Biological Descent Test In
Australian Law" QUT Law & Justice Journal Number 7
Accessed 25 March 2008.
- Dean, J (1984) Tasmania v Commonwealth. 158 CLR. p. 243.
- Fesl, Eve (1986) "‘Aborigine’ and ‘Aboriginal’"
Aboriginal Law Bulletin. Number 39. Accessed 25 March
- Salna, Karlis (2008) "Call us Aboriginal - ATSIC
chair". The Australian. 1 May 2008 Accessed 2 May
- Charles Darwin University newsroom (12 May 2008)
"First public lecture focuses on racist language" Accessed 13
- Horton, David (1994) The Encyclopedia of
Aboriginal Australia: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
History, Society, and Culture Aboriginal Studies Press.
Canberra. ISBN 0-85575-234-3.