Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe
Another great, thoughtful review and commentary on Dark Emu. Keep the momentum building!
Dark Emu Black Seeds: agriculture or accident? is a short, sharp challenging book. Not challenging because it is difficult to read – far from it – but challenging in the way it undermines everything we thought we ‘knew’ about Aboriginal land management before white settlement.
Dark Emu is an evocative title but the text is in fact illuminating, both for the light it sheds upon Aboriginal labour, agriculture and ingenuity and for its exposure of white people’s willful blindness. Pascoe builds on the work of Bill Gammage’s Greatest Estate on Earth (another text I highly recommend) but goes much further.
Over and again, the early colonists recorded the existence of Aboriginal crops, food stores, houses, wells, irrigation systems and fisheries. Then, almost in the next breath, those same colonists exclaimed how the land was just there for the taking.
Major Thomas Mitchell, as he crossed the frontier, describes what…
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