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Indigenous Understanding MYBennies: Totem/Kinship

MYBennies

Acknowledgement of Country

Visitors should be aware that this Research Guide may contain images or documentation relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are deceased.

Mount St Benedict College acknowledges and pays respect to the past, present and future Traditional Custodians and Elders of this nation and the continuation of cultural, spiritual and educational practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Ancestors have walked this country and we acknowledge their special and unique place in our nation’s historical, cultural and linguistic identity.

Australian Government

A totem is an object or thing in nature that is adopted as a family or clan emblem. Different clans are assigned different totems and, in some cases, individuals are given personal totems at birth. In the Torres Strait, people wear personal pendants, which are mostly carved out of wood, turtle shell or shells and often represent the person's totem. There are well-established rules about when they can wear the pendants, often only during ceremonies or rituals.

University Of Sydney

In this section, explore the importance of Totems – natural objects which individual group members are responsible for – and find out how Totems define a person's role within a group.

You Tube

Learn more about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kinship structures.

Totem

'Warali Wali' means possum in the Darug language. The possum is one of the traditional totems of the Darug people. 

Kinship Module- University of Sydney

Aboriginal Australians were multicultural long before European settlers came to Australia. Traditionally, there were more than 500 different Aboriginal Nations across Australia with different languages, social structures and modes of behaviour, but also with many common denominators – specifically religious ties and Kinship systems.