Meaning of Aborigine, Aboriginal & Indigenous Australian Definition of Aborigine, Aboriginal and Indigenous

Aboriginal man and child

The word Aborigine was the original name given by Europeans to the dark-skinned native people of Australia. However, there is some debate about the appropriateness of using the term Aborigine, as some people deem the word racist. (Similar to referring to American blacks as Negroes).

Today, the following terms are used to refer to the original human inhabitants of Australia. These are Indigenous Australians, Native Australians, Aboriginals, and Aborigines.

•Related Article — Aborigines (Aboriginals) of Australia

Aborigine & Aboriginal – Meaning, Origin & First Usage Where Does the Word Aborigine Come From?

group of aboriginal-people

The word "Aborigines" refers to the original native people of an area before the arrival of invading or colonizing people from elsewhere. It is derived from the Latin word aborīginēs which was used by the Romans to refer to the people who lived in Italy before they took over an area. The word originates from the Latin stem words ab+origine meaning 'from the beginning'.

The first known use of the word Aborigines in English was in the mid-1500s. By the 1600s, the words Aborigines and Aboriginals were used frequently to describe the first inhabitants of a place. It was also used, more generally, to describe any living thing that was native to an area—which meant there could be aboriginal plants and aboriginal animals too.

By the 1800s, however, the words ‘aborigines’ and ‘aboriginal’ were firmly established as descriptions for the original native people of Australia. It was only in the 19th century that the singular form of the word, aborigine, first appeared.

The word 'aboriginal', used to describe these people today, is actually an adjective. But is frequently used as a proper noun in place of the correct word aborigine. In Australia, these words are usually capitalized as Aborigine, Aborigines, Aboriginal and Aboriginals.

So there you have it. First used by the Romans to describe tribes that existed before they took over Italy; it was borrowed by the English to eventually be a description of the original native inhabitants of Australia.

Definitions of Indigenous What Does Indigenous Really Mean?

In more recent time the phrases Indigenous People or Indigenous Australians has been gaining favour. This may be due to the some people believing that the words aborigine and aboriginal were somehow degrading. (Similar to the words "Negro' or "nigger" in reference to African Americans of the US).

The Oxford Dictionary (and most other dictionaries) define 'indigenous' as "originating or occurring naturally in a particular place; native".

In 1972 the United Nations (UN) redefined the meaning of native inhabitants of a place. In the UN definition they used the term 'indigenous' in order to use non-offensive language and gave them special rights and protection under international law.

The UN definition of indigenous is almost identical to the original definition of Aborigines.

Indigenous communities, peoples, and nations are those that, having a historical continuity with pre-invasion and pre-colonial societies that developed on their territories, consider themselves distinct from other sectors of the societies now prevailing in those territories, or parts of them. They form at present non-dominant sectors of society and are determined to preserve, develop, and transmit to future generations their ancestral territories, and their ethnic identity, as the basis of their continued existence as peoples, in accordance with their own cultural patterns, social institutions and legal systems.

What is the Correct Word to Describe Native Australians? Appropriate Terminology

There is no correct answer to this question. Today the most politically correct usage is "Indigenous Australian", followed by "Native Australian", then "Aboriginal", and finally "Aborigine. However, the most accurate definition is still Aborigine or Australian Aboriginal.

Names Aborigines Use to Describe Themselves What Do Aborigines Call Themselves?

Aboriginal woman and child

The aboriginal people themselves do not seem to have a preferred name by which they call themselves. They most commonly refer to each other as Aborigines, Aboriginals or just simply black-fellas (from the words black + fellow). Historically they called themselves by the name of their tribe or language group. This may have been a result of the fact that they were hunter-gathers and usually moved from place to place. For example, they may have said "I am a Wiradjuri man". A few groups, however, called themselves by place names. For example, people living in what is now New South Wales and Victoria may refer to themselves as "Koori". While those in Queensland may call themselves "Murri" and in Western Australia it may be "Noongar".

Aborigines (Aboriginals) — The First Australians