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Indigenous Understanding MYBennies: Totem/Kinship


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.


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