This article is relevant for those you are willing to travel in Australia.
Using Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander names of people and places is not a problem when it is clear that this is allowed because your host (if you have one) has used the names or they appear on signs.
Don’t get me wrong… Some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander names are difficult to pronounce, but it is always worth trying! You may get it right, and no one will be offended if you tried and didn’t say it correctly.
There are rules about names that cannot be used, but usually these rules are confined to the Indigenous society. However, I do believe it is important to be aware, increase our knowledge and follow those customs.
When Not to Use a Persons Name
In many areas, when a person dies, the name and images of that person cannot be used at all until the family of the decesead makes a public declaration that the taboo has been lifted. In case of famous Aboriginal people, it may be some years before this happens.
When Not to Use a Place Name
Place names that are the same as, or similar to a decesead person’s name eill not be used by Aboriginal People in the areas where these traditions are followed.
For some years, Alice Springs was referred as Kumunjayi by the local people because of the death of a woman with the same first name as the town.
You may notice that tv and websites that broadcast or publish photographs/ videos of Aboriginal People provide warnings at the beginning of the content so that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People will be aware that they are likely to see images of decesead people.
They are showing respect for the cultural protocols of the First Australians, and help other Australians to understand these cultural differences.