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Medicine of the Australian Aboriginal People

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Australia is the only continent to have been occupied exclusively by nomadic hunters and gatherers until recent times. Carbon dating of skeletal remains proves that Australian Aboriginal history started some 40,000 years ago, long before Captain Cook landed on the eastern coast in 1770. This history is not completely lost. It is retained in the minds and memories of successive generations of Aboriginal people, passed on through a rich oral tradition of song, story, poetry and legend. According to Aboriginal belief all life forms, human, animal, plant and mineral are part of one vast unchanging network of relationships which can be traced to the great spirit ancestors of the Dreamtime.

The Dreamtime continues as the “Dreaming” or Jukurrpa in the spiritual lives of Aboriginal people today. The events of the Dreamtime are enacted in ceremonies and dances and chanted incessantly to the accompaniment of didgeridoo or clapsticks (Isaacs 1980). The Dreaming is the source of the rich...

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Acknowledgements

All references to the Warlpiri tribe are with the kind permission and consent of the Yuendumu Council.

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Devanesen, D., Maher, P. (2008). Medicine of the Australian Aboriginal People. In: Selin, H. (eds) Encyclopaedia of the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine in Non-Western Cultures. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4425-0_8464

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