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Here are some key definitions of words used in this web site, including terms and jargon used in the areas of Community Development, Cultural Awareness and in defining cultural interactions.


adj, being the first or earliest known of its kind present in a region. Derived from the Latin terms 'ab' meaning from and 'origine' which means origin or beginning. In this sense the word is written without a capital

adj, (Capitalised) of or pertaining to the any of the original inhabitants of Australia and their descendents. Most dictionaries define Aboriginal as a noun, but I recommend using it as an adjective, always combining it with a nouns, such as people, person, association, community or land etc.  The reason for this is that Aboriginal does not sound like other names of groups of people such as Australian, Caucasian or Chinese.  Thus is some what stigmatising, suggesting that the  Aboriginal peoples are not entirely people the rest of the world.

Some Australian Aboriginal people prefer not be referred to as ‘Aboriginal’ because of the abuses of the past associated with the term.  However, in recent years it has become more accepted, partly because of the confusing and very general meaning of word Indigenous.  In the Northern Territory in Australia the word is more commonly accepted and is found in the names of many organisations run by Aboriginal groups or to support Aboriginal Australians   When ever it is possible use the specific proper noun for the particular people group to which you refer;  Eg. The Yolngu people of NE Arnhem Land, the Koori in central NSW, the Larrakia as the Aboriginal land owners of region of Darwin city.
N, n, similar to Aboriginal, any of the original inhabitants of Australia and their descendents.  Do not use this word, it can be offensive, due to its association with the past.  Furthermore it has a sound which is child like, colloquial, and unlike any other English word which names a group of people. 
N, People or person of European Descent. Balanda also refers collectively to the English speaking Dominant culture of Australia and all other 'Western' nations. Its origin comes the Macassan term 'Belanda' which is derived from 'Hollander' to describe the Dutch and is still used in Bahasa Indonesian today.
  1. n, the ability to contain, absorb, or hold
  2. n, mental ability
  3. n, the power, ability or possibility of doing something
  4. n, the maximum out put
In community development and educational areas capacity usually refers to sense 2, 3 & 4 in reference to an individual, group or community. A persons capacity in this sense is a very holistic term inferring his mental, physical, emotional, spiritual & social power and ability, unless specifically defined.
Build Capacity
v, (alt. capacity building, building capacity) to improve someones power, ability and potential to suceed in life. Through interaction or intervention in their life, through education, encouragement, help and support in such a way that does not reduce that persons influence and control but instead increases inflence, control and skills in their life. This applies also to groups and communities where the group as a whole is impacted as above through the building of the capacity of many individuals in that community.

Interested in Capacity Building Workshops? See our Empowerment and Capacity Building course outline or enquire about a Custom Course

Cross Cultural (Cross-Cultural)
  1. adj, Non-specifically, anything that involves the interaction of 2 cultures or interacting with a culture other than ones own culture.
  2. adj, More specifically describes something that transverses, or overcomes cultural barriers such as differences in languages, world-view, values etc. which normally prevent effective interaction between cultures. The term is better understood in context, thus we will expand on the following composite terms which are regularly used in relation to working between 2 cultures.
Cross-cultural Communication
  1. n, In a non-specific sense, any communication between 2 different cultural groups.
  2. n, Specifically, effective communications between 2 different cultural groups as a result of efforts by one or both parties to improve the quality of their communication in a way that is appropriate for the culture they are interacting with. For example the common methods are; to use the language of the other group, to use communication mores of the other group, to consider difference that may exist in world view.

Seeking Cross Cultural training then consider our Cross Cultural training solutions or view our free online content

Cross-cultural education
  1. n, Non-specifically, any education where the student is learning about a culture other than their own, or the teacher is teaching students from a different culture.
  2. n, Specifically education as described above that effectively achieves educational outcomes because of the use methods designed to overcome cultural barriers
Cross-cultural experience
n, an experience that involves interaction with a culture of which one is unfamiliar, usually resulting in an improved or renewed appreciation of cultural differences.
Cross-cultural training
n, Training that makes one aware of the problems faced in working in a cross-cultural context and teaches skills and methodologies to help overcome these problems.

View our Cross Cultural training solutions for working with Aboriginal people or see our free online content

Note: On this site where it is not clear which sense is being used we clarify our meaning by describing the effectiveness of the cross-cultural activity (eg. Effective cross-cultural communication, ineffective cross-cultural education)"

Dominant Culture
n, When 2 diverse cultures or ethnic groups come together and interact closely, particularly when colonisation or invasion occurs, one group will become culturally dominant over the other. The "Dominant Culture" refers to all whose primary peer group comes from this dominant cultural group whatever their racial back ground. They will all speak a common language, have a common world-view, and generally agree on most core values. These systems and values conflict with the dominated cultural group and where conflict occurs the interests of this subjugated culture are undermined. In most countries with a British colonial background the dominant culture is English speaking & incorporates "western" legal, judicial and social systems and values, while the indigenous cultures are subjugate. In Australia people of the Dominant culture generally speak English as their first language and ascribe to an Anglo-American social system and values.
World view (World-view)
n, One's "World-view" is simply the way that any particular individual perceives the world. It is the world - the environment, social structures, concepts, relationships etc. - from the perspective of any particular person. One's experiences, language, knowledge and culture will effect how one sees the world. This also applies to any particular social or cultural group, each also has a unique perspective common to that group. Within a cultural group the way people understand the world will be only slightly different. However, between two cultural groups the world-views can be vastly different because of the different experiences etc. of each group. A simple example; 400 years ago with the use of microscopes the European world discovered that tiny living things where the main causes for disease. Germs have been a major part of the western world-view since then and this explains our obsession with cleaning. However, for Australia Aboriginal peoples there was no microscope and thus their world-view has been, and still is for many, that things smaller than the eye can see simply don't exist.
There are two distinct but related senses or meanings for this word. 

See our more comprehensive definition of Indigenous

adj, derived from the original sense from the Latin ‘indigen’, meaning native or originating in that place.  When using this meaning the word is written with a lowercase ‘i’. It can refer to things, plants, animals and people that originated in the place being referenced.  The word can be used to refer to individuals as being indigenous to the place of their birth; the word is rarely used this way today.

adj,(Capitalised) any culturally distinct people group who descended  from those considered original inhabitants of a region or country prior to colonisation, and any individual person from such a people group. Typically they maintain a historical continuity with pre-colonial societies having distinct social, cultural, economic, and political structures as well as unique knowledge systems, languages and beliefs.  Indigenous people are often minority groups within and sometimes across national boundaries. Strong links to land, connections with natural resources and ancient cultural history are characteristic of Indigenous societies.   

Despite the loose definition provided above, it must be said that the term Indigenous, when referring to a group of people, has a somewhat contested definition… more detailed information

Throughout this website, when we refer to Indigenous (capital ‘I’) people, communities, culture etc. we are referring to the Indigenous peoples of Australia. The Indigenous peoples of Australia include all the Australian Aboriginal people groups and the Torres Strait Islanders.
Yolŋu (Yolngu)
N, The people or a person from north-east Arnhem Land. The word traditionally means person or people, human. Following the convention used by many other indigenous people around the world their own term for person has been adopted by the people of this region to identify themselves. The Yolngu people also use the term to refer to all Aboriginal people from Australia. This word is used in this site to refer to specifically to the Indigenous people or an Indigenous person from north-east Arnhem Land.

Terms defined




Cross Cultural

Cross-cultural Communication

Cross-cultural education

Cross-cultural experience

Cross-cultural training

Dominant Culture

Indigenous. 3

World view


Training Solutions

Why Warriors Pty Ltd provides training for personnel and Organisations working with Indigenous people or communities.

Why Warriors Lie Down and Die

Why Warriors Lie Down and Die - Book CoverThe result of over 30 years of working face to face with Aboriginal people, this book identifies many of the causes of the crisis faced by Aboriginal Australians and provides examples of ways people working with Aboriginal people effectively empower Indigenous Communities.

“Many books have been writtten about the Yolngu people of Arnhem Land (NT Australia). This one is very different. It speaks of about the real situation that we face every day, a reality that is hard for people of another culture to imagine.”

Dr. Djiniyini Gondarra