The reviews keep coming, and the message is getting stronger and more widely heard: Dark Emu has turned on its head what we thought we knew about pre-colonial Australia.
Today, well-respected blogger Lisa Hill reviews Dark Emu from an educator’s point view on her ANZ Lit Lovers blog http://anzlitlovers.com/2014/10/21/dark-emu-black-seeds-agriculture-or-accident-by-bruce-pascoe/
“In 156 pages, Pascoe has inverted almost everything I thought I knew about pre-colonial Australia. Importantly, he’s not relying on oral history, which runs the risk of being too easily debunked, his sources are the journals of notable explorers and surveyors, of pastoralists and protectors. He quotes them verbatim, describing all the signs of a complex civilisation but viewed through the blinkered lens of appropriation and White superiority.”
“As a teacher … I recommend it as essential reading for any educator.”
Bruce Pascoe joined the recent Mildura Writer’s Festival to talk about Dark Emu and what he has uncovered about the true nature of Aboriginal life and agriculture at the time Europeans arrived in Australia.
Click on the photo above to link to the audio of his presentation, or click here.
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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The ABC gives the idea significant air-time
It has long been thought that prior to white settlement, Indigenous Australians lived a nomadic, hunter-gatherer lifestyle. Now some scholars argue that the first Australians practised forms of agriculture and aquaculture, writes Cathy Pryor.
In a recent Bush Telegraph programme devoted entirely to the discussion of Aboriginal agriculture, Bruce Pascoe and Bill Gammage lay out the evidence they have gathered.
Bruce gets the last word: ‘You couldn’t do broad acre agricultural activities once the land had been taken from you.’ Makes sense, really.
Listen to the podcast or read the transcript here.
Spreading the word overseas
The independent on-line newspaper The Epoch Times also interviewed Bruce recently. You can read the story here
Fresh from his appearance at the inaugural Australia and New Zealand Festival of Literature and the Arts in London, Bruce has another couple of public appearances lined up. It’s your chance to ask him about how early Aborigines grew and milled grain and baked bread, and other such myth-busters.
FRIDAY JUNE 20
First up is Melbourne’s annual The Light in Winter festival based around the winter solstice. Bruce will participate in the campfire programme, as outlined below.
Friday 20 June | 6.30pm – 7.30pm | Free
“Accomplished author Bruce Pascoe’s new book examines Aboriginal knowledge systems in food production and land management, and critiques colonial myths used to justify dispossession. ” Check out the full list of events here.
MONDAY AUGUST 4
Time: 6.30pm until 8.00pm
Venue: ELTHAMbookshop, 970 Main Road, Eltham
Cost: $40.00 includes a signed copy of the book or a $35.00 gift voucher, and bush food flavoured refreshments
Prepaid bookings are essential: Call 03 9439 8700 or email email@example.com
If you haven’t heard Bruce Pascoe talk about Dark Emu yet, here are the links to his two most recent interviews. On Wednesday April 2 he was interviewed by Fran Kelly on ABC RN Breakfast, and later by Karen Dorante on Brisbane’s 989fm Indigenous radio, which is widely broadcast across Queensland and also goes out nationally. Find out what happened to Indigenous agriculture when the first sheep arrived in Victoria from Tasmania!
The world flocks to see the Stonehenge structures in England, but how many Australians have been to Brewarrina to see what are arguably the oldest human constructions on earth.?