Aboriginal people belong to their land. The soul of a person is born from the land and returns to it after death.


There is a marked difference between white and Aboriginal Culture (though it  is important to remember that such a generalist view may not relate to all individuals).

Individualism (non- Aboriginal)

Collectivism (Aboriginal)

I talk about myself, my professional status and my achievements

I talk about my relationship with others, but not about me

I enjoy time on my own

I prefer spending time with my mob

What’s mine is mine and I will choose with whom I will share

Sharing is a natural way of life. Things don’t belong to me, they belong to the family

The majority rules in decision making

Consensus rules in decision making

I can move on if I don’t like it here

I can leave, but I will always maintain my connections with country and community

I have few obligations and many of these can be negotiated

My obligations to my family and social relationships are very important and non-negotiable

Concepts of time

Time is perceived, measured and valued differently across cultures, depending on history, culture and individual personalities. Kluckholm and Strodtbeck identified three types of time culture:

  • Present orientated, with little consideration
  • for the past or what the future will bring.
  • Past-orientated, with strong links to traditions and family and an attempt to maintain the present.
  • Future-orientated, with values placed on economic and social development.

Kluckholm and Strodtbeck also state that non-Western cultures view time within concepts of relationship and process, while Western cultures view time from a task and result perspective. This table is again a generalist view and may not relate to all individuals.

Western (non-Aboriginal)

Non-western (Aboriginal)

I view time as an ordered sequence of events of the past, present and future

I view time as a cycle of life and events that is not measurable

Time is tangible. It can be wasted, saved, spent, lost, made-up, measured, bought and sold

Time is not tangible.

I value time and feel comfortable with scheduling my priorities

I don’t feel comfortable with fixed schedules as my priorities are guided by my obligation schedules don’t dictate the order of the day

I focus on the future. I value history but events of long ago are hard for me to connect with

Past events remain part of the here and now