Attention: This site looks better in the latest Mozilla or Internet Explorer.

The Humanities Conference 2003

Home | Newsletter | Call for Papers | Register

Presentation Details

 Download: Poster | Brochure 1 | Brochure 2    

A Sense of belonging: Seeking Aboriginal Identity

Joe Perry.

How do you describe an Aboriginal sense of belonging? It is about being part of something that is all around you all the time, not just the things that you can see, touch and hear but more importantly what is felt and what you can sense. This is what makes us unique as Indigenous peoples interpreting and understanding the intangible world. We take for granted what we possess and touch and can only physically see the material world, but if we able to understand the holistic world we become more a tuned to relationships that are integral to our daily lives. Family, a sense of community and our relationship to the environment are the fundamental moldings for the creation of humanity.

“…a very complex dynamic in which every individual had a specific relationship with every other individual with the food they ate, and with the land.” (Brayshaw, 1986:36)

As an Aboriginal person knowing that you are connected to everything and everyone, gives you a greater sense of who you are and that you fit into a structure that is vibrant and that your life is important has purpose to many. Family and kinship embodies the sense of belonging. You are not alone in the world; blood joins your individualism to the greater body personal relationships and group dynamics that is essential for us to grow as people. It gives us a stronger sense of unity togetherness.


Joe Perry  (Australia)
Wollotuka School of Aboriginal Studies Faculty of Education and Arts
University of Newcastle

I am a Worimi Aboriginal man who grew up on a small Aboriginal reserve at Karuah and have lived in the Port Stephens and Hunter regions all my life. I gained a Diploma in Welfare, which gave me greater insight into the social, political and racial issues that have been apart of the history of this country. I furthered my education with a Bachelor of Education hoping to empower other Aboriginal people along the way through education. After attaining this qualification I found employment assisting in the writing of the Bachelor and Major of Aboriginal studies at the University of Newcastle. Upon completion of that I applied to teach in that area and have been employed here for the past five (7) years.


(30 min Conference Paper, English)