A is for Aboriginal

A is for Aboriginal,  a is for apple. Not much difference I hear you say, well there is to me and to my brothers and sisters. We are Aboriginal people, not aboriginal or aborigine.

We are a people who have a name, and if you remember your schooling you would know that a noun is a naming word and has a capital. So my name Colleen, is always started with a capital, Australia, is always begun with a Big A, not a little a.

I am drawing your attention to this, because as a wonderful woman Kate Bowles, pointed out in my last post I had lower case. I share many stories from people and when they write to me, I don’t edit it or change it in any way, except for taking names out. Thanks to Kate, she thought it was time for a refresher course in the linguistics of the First Nations People.

Aboriginal map

We call ourselves Aboriginal, I know many of you say but that is not a noun, but it is as far as we are concerned. We will tolerate Aborigine, but prefer not to have it used, as we prefer not to be called Indigenous, oh by the by, it is Indigenous with a capital when referring to us or others specifically, e.g. Indigenous Australians, Indigenous New Zealanders. Lower case when referring to the indigenous plants of an area. We also like Traditional Owners, and First Nations People, these two terms are also applicable to Torres Strait Islanders.

Our fellow Indigenous people of Australia, are the Torres Strait Islanders, who come from the Torres Strait, well I guess you already realised that.


Please refer to them as Torres Strait Islanders or Torres Strait Island People. As a combined group we often get called Indigenous, because apparently it is too hard to say “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders”.

We do not like it when you shorten it, I have a way of dealing with people who call me ATSI, I tell them they are Non ATSI, thus making them a NATSI. (say it in your head, you will get it). We also do not like Ab&TSI, Really, who thought that one up?

It really is not that hard to call us by these terms. preferably if you know the terms used in your region use that, Koori,Goorie, Nunga, Palawar, these are just a few of the regional terminology that is acceptable. But over all why is it so hard to say Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander? Many can manage to say African-American, Northern Territorian, Pacific Islander, so why is this so hard?

I hear you saying but we have to say Aboriginal and or Torres Strait Islander, well yeah you do in some circumstances, but that is when it is needed like in the health sphere, or when it comes to a person self identifying, we can be Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander. But for the overall terminology, preferably use what we want to be called and always always capatalise .

A is for Aboriginal, T is for Torres Strait Islander, I is for Indigenous.



About proudblacksista

An Aboriginal woman. mother of 4 diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour 7 years ago.I want to share my story to help others. I am working to help other Aboriginal people face the battles of Cancer. Email me with your stories or concerns at aboriginalcancer.com View all posts by proudblacksista

3 responses to “A is for Aboriginal

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