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What Do Aboriginals Eat?

Category: People.

I have been a student of anthropology, albeit an amateur one, for a few years now. One culture that has always fascinated me has been the Aborigines of Australia. So, recently I did some research into the Aborigines to find out how they lived, where they came from and in general, how they exist in today’s modern society.

Bush banana fruit, a food source for aboriginals. © Kimberley.

They are quite rare

The first thing to know, is that Aborigines are actually quite rare in Australia, it isn’t as if you are going to walk along the street in Melbourne or Sydney and see groups of them walking around. They are more dispersed than you might think, but they do tend to live in sunny places where the sun is warm, and they can live a traditional lifestyle that is unique to the Aborigine tribes.

Common in Western Australia

A couple of witchetty grubs. A good source of proteins for the aboriginals. © Sputnikcccp.

Most of the Aboriginal people live near Perth, in Western Australia. I decided to find a little bit more how they lived, and since I enjoy food myself, I decided to find out what kind of foods they ate. What is their main staple diet? What kind of goodies do they feed their children?

The answer depends on where the aboriginal people live

For centuries, the Aborigine people have subsisted on food close to their surroundings. They have always been, and probably always will be, dependent on the land they live on for food and shelter.

Honey ants, a.k.a. honeypot ants, in Northern Territory, Australia. © Avilasal.

A typical Aboriginal dinner

With that in mind, I invite you over for an Aboriginal dinner. Tonight I’ll be serving wild honey, yams, berries and perhaps a little water lily. That is just the first course, however, and what comes next is quite exotic. We’ll follow up on our healthy plate of greens and vegetables with a little protein. Our second course will feature a few small slices of kangaroo meat, a couple of lizard legs and the pate of a small animal perhaps covered in a rich dosage of honey ant. Yum yum! Sounds good doesn’t it?

May not be as healthy

Even though, the food may sound strange to us here in the Western world, and that is because it is strange and not so healthy either. Compared to other indigenous peoples around the world, the Aboriginal people have life expectancy that is approximately 10 years lower than that of other similar cultures. The Aboriginal people though are so different, and so remote, that even the Australian government has problems assessing the life expectancy of its own indigenous tribes.

Been around for over 65,000 years

If you are looking to make your next dinner engagement memorable, I am sure there won’t be anything more unforgettable than a place setting that includes a little water snake. I still though can’t help but be impressed by the resilience of this ancient people. Even after the estimated 65,000 years they have been around, they have still kept to their roots, spirituality and respect for nature. They have learned to understand what it means to live in a symbiotic relationship with their environment.

More on Australia: What do modern-day Australians eat?


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