12 Canoes is a broadband website presenting, in an artistic, cultural and educational context, the stories, art and environment of the Yolngu people who live around the Arafura swamp in north-eastern Arnhem Land.
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This website is a fantastic resource which contains videos and first hand oral information from the Yolngu people of Ramingining in the Northern Territory.
When looking at traditional law and democratic practices of Aboriginal people before British colonisation it’s important to understand that their law and practices relate directly to their spirituality and culture. Their laws and customs passed on by the elders, ancestors and spirits and taught through dreamtime and the sharing of knowledge and experience encompass all forms of life; including how to behave towards one another, who to marry, and rules about the land including sustainability and hunting etc.
The video titled Kinship and another titled Ancestors are very good resources which could be watched in a lesson to get an understanding of some of these themes, and how they relate to their law system. It is important to build an in-depth understanding of culture, spirituality and relationships to understand the traditional Aboriginal law systems. It is important too, to recognise that each group of people can have different beliefs and law systems specific to their region and this website concentrates on the Yognu people specifically.
The website contains a multitude of resources to build an understanding of the culture of the Yolgnu people, and there are direct activities and resources on the website that could be used by a teacher to teach a class, or a teacher could extrapolate important ideas and concepts to teach both in aboriginal traditional law and other areas.