This paper tells of a group of people working in the increasingly digitised context of teaching and researching Aboriginal languages and cultures in a university context, and in remote Aboriginal communities. The first phase involved the development of digital archives with CDs and a website for university teaching purposes. The second phase takes us into the work of developing digital object management systems which will allow Aboriginal people to control, configure and utilise their digital resources for themselves in their own local contexts. Can digital technologies be developed which enhance rather than inhibit Aboriginal knowledge traditions? How can a group of people build its collective memory and perform its knowledge in a digitised context? And what happens to the work of collaboratively assessing truth claims in such a context? This paper concerns that part of this work which deals with the role of words (or strings of text) and ontologies in developing systems for Aboriginal digital object management.