Dark emu : black seeds : agriculture or accident?

by Bruce Pascoe

Paper Book, 2014



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Broome, Western Australia : Magabala Books, 2014.

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LibraryThing member therebelprince
A rather important, worthwhile read for all Australians. "Dark Emu" is one of several recent books (another being the comprehensive "The Greatest Estate on Earth") seeking to shatter the many misconceptions about the way Aboriginal Australians lived before their land was taken over by the white man.

"Arguing over whether the Aboriginal economy was a hunter-gatherer system or one of burgeoning agriculture is not the central issue. The crucial point is that we have never discussed it as a nation. The belief that Aboriginal people were 'mere' hunter gatherers has been used as a political tool to justify disposession."

Pascoe outlines the anthropological, geographical, and anecdotal evidence for Aboriginal farming, trapping, house-building, clothing, fire-burning, and other interesting practices. This book is not particularly academic, in that it primarily lists a variety of examples and claims, but, as Pascoe notes, this is an area where there remains great prejudice and ignorance today. The information I was taught as factual when I was a child portrays a fairly simplistic view of the Aboriginal tribes, and it's truly fascinating to gain an insight into the rich culture that existed in the country long before the white man. Pascoe sees the best possible answers, of course, but he is never reaching; he relies on the evidence to make his point, and it is a very worthy one. Australia has a long way to go before equality is achieved, and recognition of this sort can only help.
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