Differences Between Traditional Aboriginal Cultures & Mainstream Western Culture

Traditional Culture

Mainstream Western Culture

Community is the foremost of all values Individualism is the foremost value
The future tense is dominant The present is the dominant tense
The world is understood mythically The world is understood scientifically
Goals are met with patience Goals are met with aggressive effort
Ownership is often communal Ownership is reward for hard work
Gifts are regarded as social glue Gifts are regarded as holiday issues
Work is often motivated by group need Work is motivated by ambition
Aging is a source of wisdom Aging is decay and loss
Eye contact is thought over-assertive Eye contact is part of conversation
Silences are acceptable anywhere Silences are a waste of time
Assertiveness is non-communal Assertiveness is a basic social skill
Listening skills are prized Communication skills are prized
Soft spoken words carry farthest Emphasis carries the day
Nodding signifies understanding Nodding signifies agreement
Handshake is soft, signaling no threat Handshake is firm, assertive
Collective decisions are consensual Collective decisions are put to a vote
A faith in harmony with nature A faith in scientific control of nature
Family is extended family Family is nuclear family
Responds to praise of the group Responds to praise of the individual


First posted on IndigenousWorks.