Friday, July 08, 2016

The Songline Navigation System

Long before maps and compasses were invented the indigenous people of Australia were able to navigate using the songlines of the Gods.

Songlines, or dreaming tracks, are the creation myths of Indigenous Australians. They are the paths that the creator-beings took across the world while naming and creating the features of the land. These songlines crisscross Australia and, if you know the songline, you can follow the routes that the creator-beings took across the country.

By singing the songlines indigenous people could therefore navigate vast distances, often travelling through the deserts of Australia's interior. You can learn more about songlines from different parts of Australia with this new story map from ABC. Singing the Country into Life explores the songlines of a number of indigenous groups across the whole country.

The ABC storymap helps explain the importance of songlines to aboriginal culture. They tell not only how the land was created but also provide a guide as to how you can navigate that land. Since the destruction of much of the original indigenous way of life they also now provide a valuable connection to threatened indigenous languages and culture.

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