Totems connect people on a spiritual level, providing a deeper connectivity and understanding to their Clan, their traditional land and the Dreaming.
The significance and symbolism of Totems is something that is complex and multi-dimensional and varies depending on region and Clan.
A totem is a natural object, plant or animal that is inherited by members of a Clan or family as their spiritual emblem. Totems define peoples’ roles and responsibilities and their relationships with each other and creation.” (Uncle Graham Paulson, 2023) Clan groups have caretaking responsibilities for their totems.
Depending on where a person is from, they could have three or more Totems which represent their Nation, Clan and family group, as well as a personal Totem. Nation, clan and family Totems are predetermined, however personal Totems are individually appointed.
Totems are decided by an Elder or family member and are usually given at a young age or when a child goes through their Coming of Age Ceremony.