Culture and heritage

Aboriginal heritage

Indigenous kinship with the natural world

This report aims to describe and explain the place of totemism in Aboriginal culture(s) in NSW, from 1788 to the present day. It also asks whether 'totemism' is an appropriate concept to describe the social and religious affiliations Aboriginal people have towards plant and animal species. The report suggests that the concept of kinship is perhaps a better term to describe these relationships.

The report also helps organisations such as the NPWS to understand and recognise the relationship between land management and totemism. Through land management programs, the report argues that Aboriginal forms of respect for the environment can become a living reality in NSW.

The report is the result of a project funded by the NSW Biodiversity Strategy.

Documents to download


The format and structure of this publication may have been adapted for web delivery.

Page last updated: 26 February 2011