Australian Aboriginal Quotes

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Australian Aborigines say that the big stories — the stories worth telling and retelling, the ones in which you may find the meaning of your life — are forever stalking the right teller, sniffing and tracking like predators hunting their prey in the bush.
Robert Moss
People are all exactly alike. There's no such thing as a race and barely such a thing as an ethnic group. If we were dogs, we'd be the same breed. George Bush and an Australian Aborigine have fewer differences than a Lhasa apso and a toy fox terrier. A Japanese raised in Riyadh would be an Arab. A Zulu raised in New Rochelle would be an orthodontist. People are all the same, though their circumstances differ terribly.
P.J. O'Rourke
All the demons of Hell formerly reigned as gods in previous cultures. No it's not fair, but one man's god is another man's devil. As each subsequent civilization became a dominant power, among its first acts was to depose and demonize whoever the previous culture had worshipped. The Jews attacked Belial, the god of the Babylonians. The Christians banished Pan and Loki anda Mars, the respective deities of the ancient Greeks and Celts and Romans. The Anglican British banned belief in the Australian aboriginal spirits known as the Mimi. Satan is depicted with cloven hooves because Pan had them, and he carries a pitchfork based on the trident carried by Neptune. As each deity was deposed, it was relegated to Hell. For gods so long accustomed to receiving tribute and loving attention, of course this status shift put them into a foul mood.
Chuck Palahniuk (Damned (Damned, #1))
Australian History: .... does not read like history, but like the most beautiful lies.
Mark Twain (Following the Equator - Part 7 (Illustrated Version))
To understand the Dreamtime, you must understand that we do not own the land. The land is our mother and she owns and nurtures us.
Lance Morcan (White Spirit)
Jean-Jacques Rousseau defined civilization as when people build fences. A very perceptive observation. And it’s true—all civilization is the product of a fenced-in lack of freedom. The Australian Aborigines are the exception, though. They managed to maintain a fenceless civilization until the seventeenth century. They’re dyed-in-the-wool free. They go where they want, when they want, doing what they want. Their lives are a literal journey. Walkabout is a perfect metaphor for their lives. When the English came and built fences to pen in their cattle, the Aborigines couldn’t fathom it. And, ignorant to the end of the principle at work, they were classified as dangerous and antisocial and were driven away, to the outback. So I want you to be careful. The people who build high, strong fences are the ones who survive the best. You deny that reality only at the risk of being driven into the wilderness yourself.
Haruki Murakami (Kafka on the Shore)
Long dismissed as children's stories or 'myths' by Westerners, Australian Aboriginal stories have only recently begun to be taken seriously for what they are: the longest continuous record of historic events and spirituality in the world.
Karl-Erik Sveiby (Treading Lightly: The Hidden Wisdom of the World's Oldest People)
[Australia] is the home of the largest living thing on earth, the Great Barrier Reef, and of the largest monolith, Ayers Rock (or Uluru to use its now-official, more respectful Aboriginal name). It has more things that will kill you than anywhere else. Of the world's ten most poisonous snakes, all are Australian. Five of its creatures - the funnel web spider, box jellyfish, blue-ringed octopus, paralysis tick, and stonefish - are the most lethal of their type in the world. This is a country where even the fluffiest of caterpillars can lay you out with a toxic nip, where seashells will not just sting you but actually sometimes go for you. ... If you are not stung or pronged to death in some unexpected manner, you may be fatally chomped by sharks or crocodiles, or carried helplessly out to sea by irresistible currents, or left to stagger to an unhappy death in the baking outback. It's a tough place.
Bill Bryson (In a Sunburned Country)
The glass display cases had shown rock-throwers crafted by the Australian aborigines - like giant wooden shoehorns, they'd looked, but smoothed and carved and ornamented with the most painstaking care. In the 40,000 years since anatomically modern humans had migrated to Australia from Asia, nobody had invented the bow-and-arrow. It really made you appreciate how non-obvious was the idea of Progress. Why would you even think of Invention as something important, if all your history's heroic tales were of great warriors and defenders instead of Thomas Edison? How could anyone possibly have suspected, while carving a rock-thrower with painstaking care, that someday human beings would invent rocket ships and nuclear energy?
Eliezer Yudkowsky (Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality)
We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love… and then we return home.” —Australian Aboriginal proverb
Ian Thomas Healy (Deep Six)
The Australian Aboriginal cave paintings, from this period, are the first hints of religion that humans have as proof of religious behaviour. The caves in which the paintings are found date to 50,000 years ago through forensic geology and carbon dating. Most of the images found in their religious stories and ceremonies are depicted in these caves. We also have confirmation from the aborigines themselves that these images are their religious images. These paintings also are likely to be significant evidence for linking the use of Amanita Muscaria to its use 50,000 years ago. This is because 50,000 years ago was when humanity entered Australia and also because Amanita Muscaria produces religious like experiences.
Leviak B. Kelly (Religion: The Ultimate STD: Living a Spiritual Life without Dogmatics or Cultural Destruction)
Why did people circle one another, consumed with either fear or envy, when all the they were fearing or envying was illusion? Why did they build psychological fortresses and barriers around themselves that would take a Ph.D. in safe-cracking to get through, which even they could not penetrate from the inside? And once again I compared European society with Aboriginal. The one so archetypally paranoid, grasping, destructive, the other so sane. I didn't want ever to leave this desert. I knew that I would forget.
Robyn Davidson (Tracks: A Woman's Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback)
It (Life) is constantly changing, and yet it remains the same.
Jan Hawkins (Shadow Dreaming (The Dreaming, #1))
We were born to be friends. We both knew it. The Australian Aborigines have the traditional belief that a complete human being comprises two parts that are split before birth, that we spend our lives seeking the other part to make ourselves whole again, and that only the lucky succeed in doing so.
John Grant (Clockwork Phoenix: Tales of Beauty and Strangeness)
One of the most momentous, yet all but invisible, psychological changes in human history has been the intensification of a sense of insecurity and alienation from the world around us that arose when we became no longer able easily to get food in a few hours just by gathering it, or hunting it, but had to organize ourselves in a purposeful fashion simply to survive. This change is undocumented, though occasional clues can be gained about it from the comments of the few still alive who have lived through a version of it, such as old Australian Aboriginals. Its essence is subjection to a pervasive but unacknowledged, indeed unnamed, fear. It is the foundation of civilization.
Mark Elvin (The Retreat of the Elephants: An Environmental History of China)
If it had turned out that Aboriginal Australians were the ones to possess that tiny bit of Neanderthal ancestry instead of white people of European descent, would our Neanderthal cousins have found themselves quite so remarkably reformed?
Angela Saini (Superior: The Return of Race Science)
colonial settlers ignored the Aboriginal method, and that contemporary Australians still suffer from the result. The Aboriginal methods of land management were not just practical, but aesthetically pleasing.
Bruce Pascoe (Dark Emu)
FOR THE NEXT TWO DAYS Eddie and I walked together, we played charades trying to communicate and fell into fits of hysteria at each other’s antics. We stalked rabbits and missed, picked bush foods and generally had a good time. He was sheer pleasure to be with, exuding all those qualities typical of old Aboriginal people — strength, warmth, self-possession, wit, and a kind of rootedness, a substantiality that immediately commanded respect.
Robyn Davidson (Tracks: One Woman's Journey Across 1,700 Miles of Australian Outback)
The Australian aborigines, reckoned to be among the most primitive of races upon evidence that is far from conclusive, have a region that is well-developed. They worship the Earth Mother, and recognise in their graceful, plaintive stories the prior existence of culture heroes as well limned as any in Valhalla. To an amazing degree they feel the reality of the metaphysical world they have created––the dream-time, which is neither a dream nor a period, or if it is a period is one which has no dimension, so that the past and the present exist together.
Olaf Ruhen (Tangaroa's Godchild)
We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love…and then we return home.” - Australian Aboriginal Proverb
A.B. Shepherd (Lifeboat)
Nevertheless, every Nazi has Jewish ancestors. Every white supremacist has Middle Eastern ancestors. Every racist has African, Indian, Chinese, Native American, aboriginal Australian ancestors, as well as everyone else, and not just in the sense that humankind is an African species in deep prehistory, but at a minimum from classical times, and probably much more recently. Racial purity is a pure fantasy. For humans, there are no purebloods, only mongrels enriched by the blood of multitudes.
Adam Rutherford (How to Argue With a Racist: History, Science, Race and Reality)
But fiction has enabled us not merely to imagine things, but to do so collectively. We can weave common myths such as the biblical creation story, the Dreamtime myths of Aboriginal Australians, and the nationalist myths of modern states. Such myths give Sapiens the unprecedented ability to cooperate flexibly in large numbers. Ants and bees can also work together in huge numbers, but they do so in a very rigid manner and only with close relatives. Wolves and chimpanzees cooperate far more flexibly than ants, but they can do so only with small numbers of other individuals that they know intimately. Sapiens can cooperate in extremely flexible ways with countless numbers of strangers. That’s why Sapiens rule the world, whereas ants eat our leftovers and chimps are locked up in zoos and research laboratories.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
But fiction has enabled us not merely to imagine things, but to do so collectively. We can weave common myths such as the biblical creation story, the Dreamtime myths of Aboriginal Australians, and the nationalist myths of modern states. Such myths give Sapiens the unprecedented ability to cooperate flexibly in large numbers.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
In general,' Voss replied, 'it is necessary to communicate without knowledge of the language.
Patrick White (Voss)
But the Australians, what do the Australians do? How do they structure their landscape? For a start they postulate a primal builder, whose work they presume only to interpret: the mythical animal who was active in the “dreamtime,” that is, a primal era, beyond verification, as the name indicates. A time of sleep. The visible landscape is an effect of causes that are to be found in the dreamtime. For example, the snake that dragged itself over this plain creating these undulations, etc., etc. These.. curious Aborigines make sure their eyes are closed while events take place, which allows them to see places as records of events. But what they see is a kind of dream, and they wake into a reverie, since the real story (the snake, not the hills) happened while they were asleep.
César Aira (Ghosts)
These people who were used to walking around the desert without clothing could not understand why or what covering one's nakedness had to do with the seeking and the acceptance of food and sanctuary.
Doris Pilkington (Rabbit-Proof Fence: The True Story of One of the Greatest Escapes of All Time)
From my differing awareness, I sense something you may not yet. Especially among artists...resistance is growing. Conciousness is on the move. Something is at work in the world: a general recognition of the crisis of the spirit, of the banal and shoddy, in human affairs. It is universal and it must be met. Recently, an Australian Aboriginal shaman warned me: 'The Great Serpent has woken. Jarapiri stirs. The earth shakes. And the warriors are gathering.
Alan Garner (The Voice That Thunders)
From when she was young, Molly had learned that the fence was an important landmark for the Mardudjara people of the Western Desert who migrated south from the remote regions. They knew that once they reached Billanooka Station, it was simply a matter of following the rabbit-proof fence to their final destination, the Jigalong government depot; the desert outpost of the white man. The fence cut through the country from south to north. It was a typical response by the white people to a problem of their own making. Building a fence to keep the rabbits out proved to be a futile attempt by the government of the day. For the three runaways, the fence was a symbol of love, home and security.
Doris Pilkington (Rabbit-Proof Fence: The True Story of One of the Greatest Escapes of All Time)
You should have seen the other ones who were locked up for running away," she said. "They all got seven days punishment with just bread and water. Mr Johnson shaved their heads bald and made them parade around the compound so that everyone could see them. They got the strap too.
Doris Pilkington (Rabbit-Proof Fence: The True Story of One of the Greatest Escapes of All Time)
There had been no kinder folk anywhere than the Australian natives. We have to train ourselves to look upon the land of our birth with the eyes, not of conquerors, overcoming an enemy, but of children looking at the face of their mother. Only then shall we truly be able to call Australia our home.
Ted Strehlow
As the car disappeared down the road, old Granny Frinda lay crumpled on the red dirt calling for her granddaughters and cursing the people responsible for their abduction. In their grief the women asked why their children should be taken from them. Their anguished cries echoed across the flats, carried by the wind. But no one listened to them, no one heard them.
Doris Pilkington (Rabbit-Proof Fence: The True Story of One of the Greatest Escapes of All Time)
The best-known connection between footfall, knowledge and memory is the Aboriginal Australian vision of the Songlines. According to this cosmogony, the world was created in an epoch known as the Dreamtime, when the Ancestors emerged to find the earth a black, flat, featureless terrain. They began to walk out across this non-place, and as they walked they broke through the crust of the earth and released the sleeping life beneath it, so that the landscape sprang up into being with each pace. As Bruce Chatwin explained in his flawed but influential account, ‘each totemic ancestor, while travelling through the country, was thought to have scattered a trail of words and musical notes along the line of his footprints'. Depending on where they fell, these foot-notes became linked with particular features of the landscape. Thus the world was covered by ‘Dreaming-tracks’ that ‘lay over the land as “ways” of communication’, each track having its corresponding Song.... To sing out was–-and still is, just about, for the Songs survive, though more and more of them slip away with each generation–-therefore to find one’s way, and storytelling was indivisible from wayfaring.
Robert Macfarlane (The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot)
But now the rub for man. If sex is a fulfillment of his role as an animal in the species, it reminds him that he is nothing himself but a link in the chain of being, exchangeable with any other and completely expendable in himself. Sex represents, then, species consciousness and, as such, the defeat of individuality, of personality. But it is just this personality that man wants to develop: the idea of himself as a special cosmic hero with special gifts for the universe. He doesn't want to be a mere fornicating animal like any other-this is not a truly human meaning, a truly distinctive contribution to world life. From the very beginning, then, the sexual act represents a double negation: by physical death and of distinctive personal gifts. This point is crucial because it explains why sexual taboos have been at the heart of human society since the very beginning. They affirm the triumph of human personality over animal sameness. With the complex codes for sexual self-denial, man was able to impose the cultural map for personal immortality over the animal body. He brought sexual taboos into being because he needed to triumph over the body, and he sacrificed the pleasures of the body to the highest pleasure of all: self-perpetuation as a spiritual being through all eternity. This is the substitution that Roheim was really describing when he made his penetrating observation on the Australian aborigines: "The repression and sublimation of the primal scene is at the bottom of totemistic ritual and religion," that is, the denial of the body as the transmitter of peculiarly human life.
Ernest Becker (The Denial of Death)
Early naturalists talked often about “deep time”—the perception they had, contemplating the grandeur of this valley or that rock basin, of the profound slowness of nature. But the perspective changes when history accelerates. What lies in store for us is more like what aboriginal Australians, talking with Victorian anthropologists, called “dreamtime,” or “everywhen”: the semi-mythical experience of encountering, in the present moment, an out-of-time past, when ancestors, heroes, and demigods crowded an epic stage. You can find it already by watching footage of an iceberg collapsing into the sea—a feeling of history happening all at once. It is. The summer of 2017, in the Northern Hemisphere, brought unprecedented extreme weather: three major hurricanes arising in quick succession in the Atlantic; the epic “500,000-year” rainfall of Hurricane Harvey, dropping on Houston a million gallons of water for nearly every single person in the entire state of Texas; the wildfires of California, nine thousand of them burning through more than a million acres, and those in icy Greenland, ten times bigger than those in 2014; the floods of South Asia, clearing 45 million from their homes. Then the record-breaking summer of 2018 made 2017 seem positively idyllic. It brought an unheard-of global heat wave, with temperatures hitting 108 in Los Angeles, 122 in Pakistan, and 124 in Algeria. In the world’s oceans, six hurricanes and tropical storms appeared on the radars at once, including one, Typhoon Mangkhut, that hit the Philippines and then Hong Kong, killing nearly a hundred and wreaking a billion dollars in damages, and another, Hurricane Florence, which more than doubled the average annual rainfall in North Carolina, killing more than fifty and inflicting $17 billion worth of damage. There were wildfires in Sweden, all the way in the Arctic Circle, and across so much of the American West that half the continent was fighting through smoke, those fires ultimately burning close to 1.5 million acres. Parts of Yosemite National Park were closed, as were parts of Glacier National Park in Montana, where temperatures also topped 100. In 1850, the area had 150 glaciers; today, all but 26 are melted.
David Wallace-Wells (The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming)
[Senator Bill] O'Chee: What do I have to do to be an Australian, because my family has been in this country for a hundred and ten years [78-year-old woman on incoming telephone call]: It doesn't matter. O'Chee: I've got to look English, have I? Old Lady: Yes O'Chee: What about the Aboriginies? Old Lady: They're Australian, too. O'Chee: Can I just get this down for the record -- you can look Aboriginal and be an Australian, or you can look English and be an Australian, but you can't look Asian and be an Australian? Old Lady: That's right.
Phillip Knightley (Australia: A Biography of a Nation)
When I met Oodgeroo, I met my mother: not just Dossie’s poise, eyes and Lindt-like skin, but the funny-bugger with a steak knife, buried, a serrated intensity that unsettled me—a boy of elocution lessons and an easier ride,      25 a man of lighter brown travelling, whose tab of overt intolerance came in at insults and one lost girlfriend. I wasn’t there when indignity did its daily round—rarely blunt, rather, a pointed      30 needling that cut near the core, left wounds that broke their stitches every morning I did know that the sharp steel about Oodgeroo was also about my mother. On campus—
Anita Heiss (Anthology of Australian Aboriginal Literature)
There are other noteworthy characteristics of this rock art style: Anthropomorphs without headdresses instead sport horns, or antennae, or a series of concentric circles. Also prominent in many of the figures' hands are scepters--each one an expression of something significant in the natural world. Some look like lightning bolts, some like snakes; other burst from the fingers like stalks of ricegrass. Colorado Plateau rock-art expert Polly Schaafsma has interpreted these figures as otherworldly--drawn by shamans in isolated and special locations, seemingly as part of a ceremonial retreat. Schaafsma and others believe that the style reflects a spirituality common to all hunter-gatherer societies across the globe--a way of life that appreciates the natural world and employs the use of visions to gain understanding and appreciation of the human relationship to the earth. Typically, Schaafsma says, it is a spirituality that identifies strongly with animals and other aspects of nature--and one that does so with an interdependent rather than dominant perspective. To underscore the importance of art in such a culture, Schaafsma points to Aboriginal Australians, noting how, in a so-called primitive society, where forms of written and oral communication are considered (at least by our standards) to be limited, making art is "one means of defining the mystic tenets of one's faith.
Amy Irvine (Trespass: Living at the Edge of the Promised Land)
We are swapping band-aid education for brand new education, sealing the cracks – all the holes in the broken-down fences of Australian education policy for Indigenous peoples. Yes, they continued the better education, we know what is best rhetoric in their on-going war with the sceptic observer whom they continually accused was pass em this and not pass em that – always out to destroy Aboriginal people like a record still stuck in the same grove. Anyway. Whatever. Agree or not. This was the hammer, even in officially recognised Aboriginal Government, pulping confidence. The hammer that knocked away the small gains through any slip of vigilance. The faulty hammer that created weak ladders to heaven.
Alexis Wright (The Swan Book)
Most disconcerting of all were those experiences in which the patient's consciousness appeared to expand beyond the usual boundaries of the ego and explore what it was like to be other living things and even other objects. For example, Grof had one female patient who suddenly became convinced she had assumed the identity of a female prehistoric reptile. She not only gave a richly detailed description of what it felt like to be encapsuled in such a form, but noted that the portion of the male of the species' anatomy she found most sexually arousing was a patch of colored scales on the side of its head. Although the woman had no prior knowledge of such things, a conversation Grof had with a zoologist later confirmed that in certain species of reptiles, colored areas on the head do indeed play an important role as triggers of sexual arousal. Patients were also able to tap into the consciousness of their relatives and ancestors. One woman experienced what it was like to be her mother at the age of three and accurately described a frightening event that had befallen her mother at the time. The woman also gave a precise description of the house her mother had lived in as well as the white pinafore she had been wearing—all details her mother later confirmed and admitted she had never talked about before. Other patients gave equally accurate descriptions of events that had befallen ancestors who had lived decades and even centuries before. Other experiences included the accessing of racial and collective memories. Individuals of Slavic origin experienced what it was like to participate in the conquests of Genghis Khan's Mongolian hordes, to dance in trance with the Kalahari bushmen, to undergo the initiation rites of the Australian aborigines, and to die as sacrificial victims of the Aztecs. And again the descriptions frequently contained obscure historical facts and a degree of knowledge that was often completely at odds with the patient's education, race, and previous exposure to the subject. For instance, one uneducated patient gave a richly detailed account of the techniques involved in the Egyptian practice of embalming and mummification, including the form and meaning of various amulets and sepulchral boxes, a list of the materials used in the fixing of the mummy cloth, the size and shape of the mummy bandages, and other esoteric facets of Egyptian funeral services. Other individuals tuned into the cultures of the Far East and not only gave impressive descriptions of what it was like to have a Japanese, Chinese, or Tibetan psyche, but also related various Taoist or Buddhist teachings.
Michael Talbot (The Holographic Universe)
It’s relatively easy to agree that only Homo sapiens can speak about things that don’t really exist, and believe six impossible things before breakfast. You could never convince a monkey to give you a banana by promising him limitless bananas after death in monkey heaven. But why is it important? After all, fiction can be dangerously misleading or distracting. People who go to the forest looking for fairies and unicorns would seem to have less chance of survival than people who go looking for mushrooms and deer. And if you spend hours praying to non-existing guardian spirits, aren’t you wasting precious time, time better spent foraging, fighting and fornicating? But fiction has enabled us not merely to imagine things, but to do so collectively. We can weave common myths such as the biblical creation story, the Dreamtime myths of Aboriginal Australians, and the nationalist myths of modern states. Such myths give Sapiens the unprecedented ability to cooperate flexibly in large numbers. Ants and bees can also work together in huge numbers, but they do so in a very rigid manner and only with close relatives. Wolves and chimpanzees cooperate far more flexibly than ants, but they can do so only with small numbers of other individuals that they know intimately. Sapiens can cooperate in extremely flexible ways with countless numbers of strangers. That’s why Sapiens rule the world, whereas ants eat our leftovers and chimps are locked up in zoos and research laboratories. The
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
When Lillian (Holt) argues that leadership steals your spirit, she means that institutional pressures change you; they erode your courage, passion and humour and wear you down so that important things don't get named and get overtaken by the trivial. In the following excerpts from one interview I undertook with her, Lillian elaborates why Indigenous Australians find it hard to speak out. There is a systemic blockage. Something happens to Aboriginal people who work in hierarchies, whether bureaucracy or academic… a bit like my own story of climbing the ladder of success. You get to the top and find it bereft, bereft of passion, bereft of intuition, of emotion. 'For God's sake don't talk about emotion in a place like this!
Amanda Sinclair
Dr. Weston Price, who documented the detrimental health effects that manifested in a single generation when Australian Aboriginal children who thrived for millennia on a hunter-gatherer diet were exposed to a denatured, industrialized diet.
Deborah Kesten (Pottenger's Prophecy: How Food Resets Genes for Wellness or Illness)
Australian aborigines, surprisingly, turn out to be a race unlike any other. They and their relatives in New Guinea have no trace in their genome of admixture with other races until the historical period. This implies that once Sahul was settled, some 46,000 years ago, the residents fought off all later migrations until the arrival of Europeans in the 18th century.
Nicholas Wade (A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History)
While Americans tried to justify and glorify their Indian-killers, George Armstrong Custer in particular, Australians simply wrote blacks, and the slaughter of them, out of the nation’s history. Until about 1970, history books and school texts hardly mentioned Aborigines at all. “The great Australian silence,” the anthropologist W.E.H. Stanner termed this amnesia in 1968. “A cult of forgetfulness practiced on a national scale.
Tony Horwitz (Blue Latitudes: Boldly Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before)
He’d read somewhere that Australian Aborigines used stories to find their way through the bewildering landscape of the outback, each tree and mountain becoming a signpost with its own story passed down from generation to generation, telling the way home. Johnny had developed a similar method to find his way through the bewildering landscape of women.
Alan Bardos (The Assassins)
The framework within which the anthropologists of the Bayard Dominick Expedition operated was that there existed a certain number of “pure” human races. The minimum was generally considered to be three: Caucasoid, Mongoloid, and Negroid. But many of the world’s peoples did not fit clearly into any of these categories, and scientists frequently invented additional racial types—Malayan, Indonesian, Austronesian, Negrito—or argued that these unclassifiable people represented populations that were “racially mixed.” Polynesians (along with Native Americans, Melanesians, and Australian Aborigines) were one of the ambiguous groups, and one goal of the Bayard Dominick Expedition was to ascertain, using anthropometric data, what unique medley of existing races had “combined to make the Polynesian physical types.
Christina Thompson (Sea People: The Puzzle of Polynesia)
What good came of all this exploration? It was a question philosophes found irresistable. Progress was their almost irresistable answer. But Diderot, the secular pontiff of the Enlightenment, the editor of the Encyclopédie, did not agree. In 1773 he wrote a denunciation of explorers as agents of a new kind of barbarism. Base motives drove them: 'tyranny, crime, ambition, misery, curiousity, I know not what restlessness of spirit, the desire to know and the desire to see, boredom, the dislike of familiar pleasures' - all the baggage of the restless temperament. Lust for discovery was a new form of fanaticism on the part of men seeking 'islands to ravage, people to despoil, subjugate and massacre.' The explorers discovered people morally superior to themselves, because more natural or more civilized, while they, on their side, grew in savagery, far from the polite restraints that reined them in at home. 'All the long-range expeditions,' Diderot insisted, 'have reared a new generation of nomadic savages ... men who visit so many countries that they end by belonging to none ... amphibians who live on the surface of the waters,' deracinated, and, in the strictest sense of the word, demoralized. Certainly, the excesses explorers committed - of arrogance, of egotism, of exploitation - showed the folly of supposing that travel necessarily broadens the mind or improves the character. But Diderot exaggerated. Even as he wrote, the cases of disinterested exploration - for scientific or altruistic purposes - were multiplying. If the eighteenth century rediscovered the beauties of nature and the wonders of the picturesque, it was in part because explorers alerted domestic publics to the grandeurs of the world they discovered. If the conservation of species and landscape became, for the first time in Western history, an objective of imperial policy, it was because of what the historian Richard Grove has called 'green imperialism' - the awakened sense of stewardship inspired by the discovery of new Edens in remote oceans. If philosophers enlarged their view of human nature, and grappled earnestly and, on the whole, inclusively with questions about the admissability of formerly excluded humans - blacks, 'Hottentots,' Australian Aboriginals, and all other people estranged by their appearance or culture - to full membership of the moral community, it was because exploration made these brethren increasingly familiar. If critics of Western institutions were fortified in their strictures and encouraged in their advocacy of popular sovreignty, 'enlightened despotism,' 'free thinking,' civil liberties, and human 'rights,' it was, in part, because exploration acquainted them with challenging models from around the world of how society could be organized and life lived.
Felipe Fernández-Armesto (Pathfinders: A Global History of Exploration)
The enigma that had bothered me in Sydney was beginning to resolve itself. If Australians allowed themselves to be represented worldwide as a nation of beer-sodden boors and hysterical Amazons, it must be through sheer lack of imagination. Like most people everywhere they spent most of their time just getting by, but there was no collective dream or mythology that told them what it was they were supposed to be doing. In that respect they were far behind the Aborigines they had decimated and despised. Yet many signs indicated that the time might not be too far away, when Australians would agree on a better reason for living than to eat a pound of beef a day. When that day came, I thought this would become one of the world’s best places to be. The faces of the old men told me there had been something once that was lost and could be found again.
Ted Simon (Jupiter's Travels)
fiction has enabled us not merely to imagine things, but to do so collectively. We can weave common myths such as the biblical creation story, the Dreamtime myths of Aboriginal Australians, and the nationalist myths of modern states.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
Australian Aborigines slept with their dogs for warmth on cold nights, the coldest being a “three dog night.” —WIKIPEDIA
Abigail Thomas (A Three Dog Life)
Mobility scandalised Europeans. Their road obliged them to fence and guard, to stay put, to make hard work a virtue. This gave great advantages, including the numbers and technology to explain why a white Australian writes this book. It also led them to condemn people who reduced their material wants, sat yarning in daylight, and gave so much time to ceremony and ritual. These were preserves and pursuits of gentry. It did not seem right that Aborigines should be like that.
Bill Gammage (The Biggest Estate on Earth)
We are living in a time of great white evil. They are dehumanizing blacks in South Africa and Rhodesia, they fermented what happened in the Congo, they won’t let American blacks vote, they won’t let the Australian aborigines vote, but the worst of all is what they are doing here. This defense pact is worse than apartheid and segregation, but we don’t realize it.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Half of a Yellow Sun)
These New World practices (enslavement and genocide) formed another secret link with the anti-human animus of mechanical industry after the sixteenth century, when the workers were no longer protected either by feudal custom or by the self-governing guild. The degradations undergone by child laborers or women during the early nineteenth century in England's 'satanic mills' and mines only reflected those that took place during the territorial expansion of Western man. In Tasmania, for example, British colonists organized 'hunting parties' for pleasure, to slaughter the surviving natives: a people more primitive, scholars believe, than the Australian natives, who should have been preserved, so to say, under glass, for the benefit of later anthropologists. So commonplace were these practices, so plainly were the aborigines regarded as predestined victims, that even the benign and morally sensitive Emerson could say resignedly in an early poem, 1827: "Alas red men are few, red men are feeble, They are few and feeble and must pass away." As a result Western man not merely blighted in some degree every culture that he touched, whether 'primitive' or advanced, but he also robbed his own descendants of countless gifts of art and craftsmanship, as well as precious knowledge passed on only by word of mouth that disappeared with the dying languages of dying peoples. With this extirpation of earlier cultures went a vast loss of botanical and medical lore, representing many thousands of years of watchful observation and empirical experiment whose extraordinary discoveries-such as the American Indian's use of snakeroot (reserpine) as a tranquilizer in mental illness-modern medicine has now, all too belatedly, begun to appreciate. For the better part of four centuries the cultural riches of the entire world lay at the feet of Western man; and to his shame, and likewise to his gross self-deprivation and impoverishment, his main concern was to appropriate only the gold and silver and diamonds, the lumber and pelts, and such new foods (maize and potatoes) as would enable him to feed larger populations.
Lewis Mumford (The Pentagon of Power (The Myth of the Machine, Vol 2))
turned out that 1–4 per cent of the unique human DNA of modern populations in the Middle East and Europe is Neanderthal DNA. That’s not a huge amount, but it’s significant. A second shock came several months later, when DNA extracted from the fossilised finger from Denisova was mapped. The results proved that up to 6 per cent of the unique human DNA of modern Melanesians and Aboriginal Australians is Denisovan DNA. If these results are valid – and it’s important to keep in mind that further research is under way and may either reinforce or modify these conclusions – the Interbreeders got at least some things right. But that doesn’t mean that the Replacement Theory is completely wrong. Since Neanderthals and Denisovans contributed only a small amount of DNA to our present-day genome, it is impossible to speak of a ‘merger’ between Sapiens and other human species. Although differences between them were not large enough to completely prevent fertile intercourse, they were sufficient to make such contacts very rare.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
The aboriginals say that the stars are the children of the sons and daughters of the morning star and the lady moon, who were created by the Sun Goddess. Bajjara and Arna, the prophets of the Spirit World, said, “You, my children, shall remember to whom you owe your birth, and you shall not seek to change your state like the animals, the birds, the reptiles, the insects, and the fishes. Remember, also, that you are superior to the creatures, and that you and your children and your children’s children will all return to the Great All Father, the Eternal Spirit.
W. Ramsay Smith (Myths and Legends of the Australian Aborigines)
All the animals, the birds, the reptiles, the insects, and the fishes chose as they severally desired. Oh, what funny creatures some of them were—the kangaroo, the frilled lizards, the bats of all types, the pelican with its big bill, the platypus, the flying-fox, the stupid-looking old wombat, and the frog that grew to maturity in such a strange fashion! First of all it came forth from the spawn, all belly and tail, then gradually it developed legs peeping out from where the body and the tail joined; after a while the tail shrank and the body became well developed, four legs appeared, and then the frog was complete.
W. Ramsay Smith (Myths and Legends of the Australian Aborigines)
Our fascination with change won’t, of itself, make it more likely or more rapid. Come 2020, I’m confident that Australia will still have one of the world’s strongest economies because the current yearning for magic-pudding economics will turn out to be short-lived. The United States will remain the world’s strongest country by far, and our partnership with America will still be the foundation of our security. We will still be a ‘crowned republic’ because we will have concluded (perhaps reluctantly) that it’s actually the least imperfect system of government. We will be more cosmopolitan than ever but perhaps less multicultural because there will be more stress on unity than on diversity. Some progress will have been made towards ‘closing the gap’ between Aboriginal and other Australians’ standards of living (largely because fewer Aboriginal people will live in welfare villages and more of them will have received a good general education). Families won’t break up any more often, because old-fashioned notions about making the most of imperfect situations will have made something of a comeback. Finally, there will have been bigger fires, more extensive floods and more ferocious storms because records are always being broken. But sea levels will be much the same, desert boundaries will not have changed much, and technology, rather than economic self-denial, will be starting to cut down atmospheric pollution.
Tony Abbott (Battlelines)
The author says the earliest Australian aborigines devoted extraordinary amounts of energy to enterprises no one now can understand.
Bill Bryson (At Home: A Short History of Private Life)
Histories of botany have little to say about the suffering of the Aboriginal Australians, but they usually find some kind words for James Cook and Joseph Banks. Furthermore,
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
Australian Aboriginal people is that they see the world in a multi-dimensional way – that’s the only way I can describe it. Time is a more fluid concept for Aborigines than it is for us. Maybe they’re string theorists, but I think that modern physical theory regarding the concept of time certainly has some resonance with an Aboriginal perspective. When
Ray Mears (My Outdoor Life)
fiction has enabled us not merely to imagine things, but to do so collectively. We can weave common myths such as the biblical creation story, the Dreamtime myths of Aboriginal Australians, and the nationalist myths of modern states. Such myths give Sapiens the unprecedented ability to cooperate flexibly in large numbers.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
Human intellects make sense of things and, if anything, err on the side of coherence. Geniuses of my acquaintance, who almost seem clever enough to make sense of the world if they so wished, are more likely to accept it as a muddle than the common man who invests it with a transcendent character of its own or recognizes it as filled with divine purpose in which nothing is out of place. Pluralism and chaos are harder to grasp – harder, perhaps, to understand and certainly to accept – than monism and order. For a whole society to accept an agreed world-picture as senseless, random and intractable, people seem to need a lot of collective disillusionment, accumulated and transmitted over many generations (see here). Moral and cognitive ambiguities are luxuries we allow ourselves which most of our forebears eschewed. Whether from an historical angle of approach, along which reconstruction is attempted of the thought of the earliest sages we know about, or from an anthropological direction, lined with examples from primitive societies which survived long enough to be scrutinized, early world-pictures seem remarkably systematic, like the ‘dreamtime’ of Australian aboriginals, in which the inseparable tissue of all the universe was spun. The ambitions these images embody betray the inclusive and comprehensive minds which made them. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries ethnographers’ fieldwork seemed ever to be stumbling on confusedly atomized world-pictures, shared by people who reached for understanding with frenzied clutchings but no overall grasp. This was because anthropologists of the time had a progressive model of human development in mind: animism preceded polytheism, which preceded monotheism; magic preceded religion, which preceded science. Confusion came first and categories, schemes and systems came later. People of the forest saw trees before they inferred wood. Coherence, it was assumed, is constructed late in human history. It now seems that the opposite is true. Coherence-seeking is one of those innate characteristics that make human thought human. No people known to modern anthropology is without it. ‘One of the deepest human desires’, Isaiah Berlin has said, ‘is to find a unitary pattern in which the whole of experience is symmetrically ordered.’ Two kinds of coherence seem to come easily to primitive cosmogonists: they can be called, for convenience, binarism and monism. (For binarism, ‘dualism’ is a traditional name, but this word is now used with so many mutually incompatible meanings that it is less confusing to coin a new term.) Binarism envisages a cosmos regulated by the flow or balance between two conflicting or complementary principles. Monism imagines an indivisibly cohesive universe; the first a twofold, the second an unfolded cosmos. Equilibrium and cohesion are the characteristics of the world in what we take to be its oldest descriptions: equilibrium is the nature of a binarist description, cohesion of a monist one. Truth, for societies which rely on these characterizations for their understanding of the world, is what contributes to equilibrium or participates in cohesion. They
Felipe Fernández-Armesto (Truth: A History and a Guide for the Perplexed)
A second shock came several months later, when DNA extracted from the fossilised finger from Denisova was mapped. The results proved that up to 6 per cent of the unique human DNA of modern Melanesians and Aboriginal Australians is Denisovan DNA.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
And in the end, we are all just stories
Linda Dowling
I love that I’ve been lucky enough to travel to every Australian city and work with some of the best, most forward-thinking individuals, and coach many to extraordinary feats. I love the friendships that have been culturally safe and supported me to reach my childhood goals and taught me that our differences make us stronger not weaker.
Don Bemrose (Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia)
The problem is that after two centuries of conflict about just who was wanted in the Australian nation the term 'Australia' both includes and excludes. There are still people for whom 'Australian' means predominatly Anglo-Celtic white people whose parents were born here before 'New Australians' came as migrants after the Second World War. A common alternative to 'white people' (who from an Aboriginal perspective might be more genially called 'whitefellas') is 'Europeans'. This makes an incongruous appeal to history. Politically the colonisers were British, but they includes people of many nationalities. It's an odd usage, as when you see a sign in a national park telling you 'Europeans' brought the invasive weeds and pests. They brought the sign and the concept of a park too, and 'they', in a complex sense, are 'us'.
Nicholas Jose
Now fast forward to the present. The United States is currently re-assessing a 3-decade, uncontrolled experiment in which carbohydrates were lauded and fats demonized. Concurrently we have become one of the most obese countries in the world. And across the globe, tragically, indigenous peoples with historically low carbohydrate intakes now have extremely high prevalence rates of obesity and type-2 diabetes (e.g., the Gulf States in the Middle East, Pacific Islanders, First Nations in Canada, and Australian Aborigines).
Jeff S. Volek (The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living: An Expert Guide to Making the Life-Saving Benefits of Carbohydrate Restriction Sustainable and Enjoyable)
The burning off and the gathering together are one.
Billy Marshall-Stoneking (Singing The Snake: Poems From The Western Desert, 1979 1988)
We can weave common myths such as the biblical creation story, the Dreamtime myths of Aboriginal Australians, and the nationalist myths of modern states. Such myths give Sapiens the unprecedented ability to cooperate flexibly in large numbers. Ants and bees can also work together in huge numbers, but they do so in a very rigid manner and only with close relatives. Wolves and chimpanzees cooperate far more flexibly than ants, but they can do so only with small numbers of other individuals that they know intimately. Sapiens can cooperate in extremely flexible ways with countless numbers of strangers. That’s why Sapiens rule the world, whereas ants eat our leftovers and chimps are locked up in zoos and research laboratories.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
If you leave here, you know what is going to happen don’t you? People are going to stop and stare at you the very instant they see the colour of your skin, and they will say: She is one of those wild Aboriginals from up North, a terrorist; they will say you are one of those faces kept in the Federal Government’s Book of Suspects. Bella Donna said that even though she had never seen this book for herself, she had heard that it had the Australian Government’s embossed crest on the cover, and was kept at the Post Office where anyone could study it. What was a post office? The girl had listened. This was the place where they kept faces plucked from the World Wide Web by Army intelligence looking at computers all day long, searching for brown- and black-coloured criminals, un-assimilables, illegal immigrants, terrorists – all the undesirables; those kind of people. Never ever leave the swamp, she said, adding that her own skin did not matter, but the girl was the colour of a terrorist, and terrorism was against the law.
Alexis Wright (The Swan Book)
do not take freedom           25 for granted for she is a very fickle lover she will leave you in a heart beat           30 ’cos for now she is married to colonisation a cruel and murderous spouse           35 if you were doin’ time like a fine wine, brother you would make a beautiful bouquet
Anita Heiss (Anthology of Australian Aboriginal Literature)
Spiritual life was much more significant than material life for the Australian Aboriginal people. Instead of putting their surplus energy into squeezing more food out of the land, Aborigines expended it on intangibles: spiritual, intellectual and artistic activities. They carried their palaces on their backs, their cathedrals were built in their minds and they felt no need to glorify human heroes. It is in the mind and the creativity of the spirit – in the intangible rather than the tangible artefacts – that Aboriginal society stands out.
Karl-Erik Sveiby (Treading Lightly: The hidden wisdom of the world's oldest people)
When I take people out into the land I say: 'Let's watch the land talk to us.' And you'll see some jaws drop. But that's what it's doin' - it's talking to us without a voice. Our land does that all the time; our water does that, our wind. Grandmother Moon, Grandfather Sun do it all the time. They show us things, what's happening. They are talking to us constantly. And what do we do? We ignore them; we ignore what the Mother, the land is telling us.
Max Dulumunmun Harrison
The Khoisan people of Southern Africa (Hottentots and Bushmen) were well known for being able to run down swift prey, including steenboks, gemsboks, wildebeests, and zebras, provided they could hunt in the heat of the day. The Tarahumara Indians of northern Mexico chase down deer till the animals are exhausted, then throttle them to death by hand. The Paiutes and Navajos were reported to do the same with pronghorn antelopes. Australian Aborigines chase down kangaroos, but only by forcing them to reach lethal body temperatures.
Bernd Heinrich (Why We Run: A Natural History)
Increasingly, a ‘racist’ is someone who dares to even notice general patterns of difference among groups of different continental origins. I stress the terms ‘general patterns’ and ‘different continental origins’ because a semantic trick some people play is to insist that no race is ‘pure’ and therefore race is a meaningless term, but I’ve never suggested this ‘purity’ concept and I’m not sure that anyone has. To deny that Kenyans are generally better long-distance runners than Samoans, or that Japanese students consistently score higher than Australian aborigines on intelligence tests, or that Germans have contributed more to science than Guatemalans, is to deny reality.
Jim Goad (The New Church Ladies: The Extremely Uptight World of "Social Justice")
But what none of these girls realised was that their fate had already been decided by their new guardians, the Commissioners of the Native Affairs Department. Sadly, in only a couple of weeks from then, Nora and Eva would find that instead of returning north as they hoped, they would be sent further south to work as domestics on dairy farms. This would also be their introduction to exploitation and deception; a hard step along the path of life that would have so many twists and turns. As for returning home to their loved ones, well, that would not happen for many, many years.
Doris Pilkington (Rabbit-Proof Fence: The True Story of One of the Greatest Escapes of All Time)
But you'd better make your beds first," she said. This was easy, you just straightened the blanket over the mattress. There were no sheets on the beds. They were stored away to be issued only on special occasions to impress special visitors.
Doris Pilkington (Rabbit-Proof Fence: The True Story of One of the Greatest Escapes of All Time)
You girls can't talk blackfulla language here, you know," came a warning from the other side of the dorm. "You gotta forget it and talk English all the time.
Doris Pilkington (Rabbit-Proof Fence: The True Story of One of the Greatest Escapes of All Time)
We gunna walk alongside it all the way to Jigalong," Molly said confidently. It would stand out like a beacon that would lead them out of the rugged wilderness, across a strange country to their homeland.
Doris Pilkington (Rabbit-Proof Fence: The True Story of One of the Greatest Escapes of All Time)
And they were given the most refreshing, and what was to become the most popular drink, billy tea, black or with powdered milk and liberally sweetened with white sugar.
Doris Pilkington (Rabbit-Proof Fence: The True Story of One of the Greatest Escapes of All Time)
Molly and Gracie sat silently on the horse, tears streaming down their cheeks as Constable Riggs turned the big bay stallion and led the way back to the depot. A high pitched wail broke out. The cries of agonised mothers and the women, and the deep sobs of grandfathers, uncles and cousins filled the air. Molly and Gracie looked back just once before they disappeared through the river gums. Behind them, those remaining in the camp found strong sharp objects and gashed themselves and inflicted wounds to their heads and bodies as an expression of their sorrow. The two frightened and miserable girls began to cry, silently at first, then uncontrollably; their grief made worse by the lamentations of their loved ones and the visions of them sitting on the ground in their camp letting their tears mix with the red blood that flowed from the cuts on their heads. This reaction to their children's abduction showed that the family were now in mourning. They were grieving for their abducted children and their relief would come only when the tears ceased to fall, and that will be a long time yet.
Doris Pilkington (Rabbit-Proof Fence: The True Story of One of the Greatest Escapes of All Time)
The "boob" was a place of detention once described as a small, detached concrete room with a sandy floor, with only a gleam of light and little ventilation coming through a narrow, barred opening in the north wall. Every inmate of the settlement dreaded being incarcerated in this place. Some children were forced to spend up to fourteen days in that horrible place.
Doris Pilkington (Rabbit-Proof Fence: The True Story of One of the Greatest Escapes of All Time)
After roll call and lights out, Molly listened to the slide of the bolt and the rattle of the padlock, then silence. It was at that moment this free-spirited girl knew that she and her sisters must escape from this place.
Doris Pilkington (Rabbit-Proof Fence: The True Story of One of the Greatest Escapes of All Time)
Only twelve months before this, Mr A.J. Keeling, the Superintendent at the Government Depot at Jigalong, wrote in his report that, "these children lean more towards the black than white and on second thoughts, think nothing would be gained in removing them". (Department of Native Affairs file no. 173/30.) Someone read it. No one responded.
Doris Pilkington (Rabbit-Proof Fence: The True Story of One of the Greatest Escapes of All Time)
dairy products. This includes the Swiss in the high Alps, the Arabs (using camel's milk), and the Asiatic races (using milk of sheep and musk ox). In the second place there are those using liberally the organs of animals, and the eggs of birds, wild and domesticated. These include the Indians of the far North, the buffalo hunting Plains Indians and the Andean tribes. In the third place there are those using liberally animal life of the sea. These include Pacific Islanders and coastal tribes throughout the world. In the fourth place there are those using small animals and insects. These include the Australian Aborigines in the interior, and the African tribes in the interior.
Anonymous
You could never convince a monkey to give you a banana by promising him limitless bananas after death in monkey heaven. But why is it important? After all, fiction can be dangerously misleading or distracting. People who go to the forest looking for fairies and unicorns would seem to have less chance of survival than people who go looking for mushrooms and deer. And if you spend hours praying to non-existing guardian spirits, aren’t you wasting precious time, time better spent foraging, fighting and fornicating? But fiction has enabled us not merely to imagine things, but to do so collectively. We can weave common myths such as the biblical creation story, the Dreamtime myths of Aboriginal Australians, and the nationalist myths of modern states. Such myths give Sapiens the unprecedented ability to cooperate flexibly in large numbers. Ants and bees can also work together in huge numbers, but they do so in a very rigid manner and only with close relatives. Wolves and chimpanzees cooperate far more flexibly than ants, but they can do so only with small numbers of other individuals that they know intimately. Sapiens can cooperate in extremely flexible ways with countless numbers of strangers. That’s why Sapiens rule the world, whereas ants eat our leftovers and chimps are locked up in zoos and research laboratories.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
As the final computerized decade of the twentieth century came into view, time itself seemed to speed up and compress into smaller and smaller bytes, leaving less and less time over the breakfast table to ruminate on the fascinating aboriginal lore from the Australian outback or on the clandestine Israeli airlift of Ethiopian Jews out of southern Sudan. Readers preferred news that affected their own lives and they wanted it now. Leisure time was a luxury that fewer and fewer times subscribers enjoyed.
Dennis McDougal (Privileged Son: Otis Chandler and the Rise and Fall of the L.A. Times Dynasty)
In fact, it is known that a major technological innovation, the introduction of the steel axe among the group of Australian Aboriginal peoples known as Yir Yoront, led not to more intense production but to more sleeping, because it allowed subsistence requirements to be met more easily, with little incentive to work for more.
Daron Acemoğlu (Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty)
Australian aboriginals have the lowest recorded average cholesterol in the world, combined with the highest incidence of death from heart disease. Conversely, the Swiss have the highest recorded average cholesterol in the world, combined with the lowest incidence of death from heart disease.
Richard Nikoley (Free The Animal: Lose Weight & Fat With The Paleo Diet (aka The Caveman Diet) V2 - NEWLY EXPANDED & UPDATED)
In some Australian Aborigine societies, time moves relative to the environment based on the direction in which the sun rises and sets. Give
Donald A. Norman (The Design of Everyday Things)
Now these remarks caused a great deal of resentment, hatred, misery, bloodshed, and death. The creatures began to quarrel, and then to wage war with one another. The owl families were continually in disagreement with the hawk families. Neither the hawk families nor the owl families would listen to the entreaties of the swan families to live in peace with them. The magpie quarrelled with every bird and with the smaller animals, especially the mouse and rat families.
W. Ramsay Smith (Myths and Legends of the Australian Aborigines)
thee. But when I beheld the many shapes and forms of living things that walked, crawled, swam, and flew I thought that perhaps a small part of my intelligence, if implanted in the kangaroo, the wombat, or the fish, would one day produce that form of intelligence that would rule and assist all other life to accomplish thy great aim. By living in each individual creature it would gain experience of all varieties of life and of form. Then at some time it would come forth in a form separate from and independent of all other forms, and yet retaining a part of the original form. This would make the new creature realize that he belonged to the old order, but was not bounded by it. He would be able to aspire to higher things, even unto thee, O Goddess of Birth.
W. Ramsay Smith (Myths and Legends of the Australian Aborigines)
Now the pillars of dust were about a mile from the multitude. They rose till they were about a mile above the hilltop. Then they gradually formed themselves into the shape of a huge mushroom. It remained stationary for an hour, and then it gradually descended toward the hill-top. The eagle-hawk jumped down from his place on the rock, and joined the multitude. The stem gradually came down until it touched the spot on the rock where the eagle-hawk had stood. Suddenly the mushroom-like cloud began to take the shape of a water-spout, curving over and over the top, and dropping spray-like water earthward, and dwindling in length until it measured only about twenty feet. Then a thunderbolt shot out of the clear sky down into the centre of the spout, causing a flame of fire. Within this flame of fire there became visible the perfect form of man as he is to-day. The flame gradually faded away, and left the figure standing in all its perfection, crowned with the glory of intelligence. The Sun Goddess remained for one day midway between the zenith and the western horizon, gazing with a satisfied smile upon her work of conception. This was the only occasion on which the Sun Goddess rested on her journey through the sky. She did this in order to shed a smiling beam of love and approval upon her work, and to show that man should rule the earth and all that remained upon the earth and sea. Then man stepped down from the rock and mingled with the creatures, and conversed with the kangaroo, the emu, the goanna, the eagle-hawk, and that most
W. Ramsay Smith (Myths and Legends of the Australian Aborigines)
The aboriginals have always known the four points of the compass and the four winds of heaven—the north, the south, the west, and the east. Traditions say that the aboriginals came to Australia from another land in the north-west. One of these tells that they were forced to Australia by fierce ants. This may mean that they were pursued by a plague of huge, deadly ants, or by a prehistoric race as fierce and as numerous as ants. Since coming to Australia, thousands of years ago, the people have probably made little or no change in their habits and customs. They kept the balance of nature even, and for centuries they neither advanced nor retrograded. Their tribal laws and customs were fixed and unchangeable.
W. Ramsay Smith (Myths and Legends of the Australian Aborigines)
The first of the tests is the overcoming of appetite. This involves their doing a two days’ walk or hunt without food, and then being brought suddenly before a fire on which some choice kangaroo steak or other native delicacy is being cooked. They are required to take only a small portion of this. The next is the test of pain. The young boys and girls submit to having their noses pierced, their bodies marked, and to being laid down upon hot embers thinly covered with boughs. The third is the test of fear. The young people are told awesome and hair-raising stories about ghosts and the muldarpe, the Evil Spirit or the Devil-devil. After all these tests they are put to sleep in a lonely place, or near the burial-place of the tribe. During the night the elders, who are made hideous with white clay and bark headdresses, appear, making weird noises. Those of the candidates who show no signs of having had a disturbed night are then admitted as fully initiated members of the tribe. No youth or maiden is allowed to marry without having passed these tests. A proposed marriage is talked over first by all the old members of the tribe. The uncle on the mother’s side is the most important relative, and it is he who finally selects the wife. The actual marriage ceremony takes place during the time of festivals. The husband does not look at or speak to his mother-in-law, although he is husband in name to all his sisters-in-law.
W. Ramsay Smith (Myths and Legends of the Australian Aborigines)
A fully developed aboriginal has, in his own way, a vast amount of knowledge. Although it may not be strictly what is called scientific, still, it is very exact knowledge; and his powers of physical observation are developed to the utmost. For instance, an aboriginal living under primitive conditions knows the anatomy and the haunts and the habits of every animal in the bush. He knows all the birds, their habits, and even their love-language—their mating notes. He knows from various signs the approach of the different seasons of the year, as well as from the positions of the stars in the heavens. He has developed in the highest degree the art of tracking the human footprint. He knows the track of every individual member of the tribe. There is as much difference and individuality in footprints as in fingerprints. There is a whole science of footprints.
W. Ramsay Smith (Myths and Legends of the Australian Aborigines)
Now compare this mechanical world view, with its exclusive emphasis on the quantitative, the measurable, the external, with that of one of the most primitive of known races and cultures, the Australian aborigines. According to a recent interpreter, Kaj Birket-Smith, "The fundamental idea in the Australian's concept of life is that there is no sharp division between man and nature, between the quick and the dead, nor even a gap between past, present, and future. Nature can as little exist without man as man without nature, and yesterday and tomorrow, in a manner inexplicable to us, merge into today. Whatever the deficiencies in the Australian aborigine's habits of observation or in his symbolic formulation of his experience, it will become plain, as the theme of this book develops, that the Australian's 'primitive' view is in fact far less primitive, biologically and culturally speaking, than that of the mechanical world picture,f or it includes those many dimensions of life that Kepler, Galileo, and their successors intentionally excluded, as spoiling the accuracy of their observations and the elegance of their descriptions.
Lewis Mumford (The Pentagon of Power (The Myth of the Machine, Vol 2))
Perhaps most people in the world aren’t trying to be free, Kafka. They just think they are. It’s all an illusion. If they really were set free, most people would be in a real bind. You’d better remember that. People actually prefer not being free.” “Including you?” “Yeah. I prefer being unfree, too. Up to a point. Jean-Jacques Rousseau defined civilization as when people build fences. A very perceptive observation. And it’s true—all civilization is the product of a fenced-in lack of freedom. The Australian Aborigines are the exception, though. They managed to maintain a fenceless civilization until the seventeenth century. They’re dyed-in-the-wool free. They go where they want, when they want, doing what they want. Their lives are a literal journey. Walkabout is a perfect metaphor for their lives. When the English came and built fences to pen in their cattle, the Aborigines couldn’t fathom it. And, ignorant to the end of the principle at work, they were classified as dangerous and antisocial and were driven away, to the outback. So I want you to be careful. The people who build high, strong fences are the ones who survive the best. You deny that reality only at the risk of being driven into the wilderness yourself.
Haruki Murakami (Kafka on the Shore)
up to 6 per cent of the unique human DNA of modern Melanesians and Aboriginal Australians is Denisovan DNA.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
Lilla Watson, an Aboriginal Australian artist and activist, along with the activists of 1970s Queensland are credited with saying, “If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. If you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.
Sonya Renee Taylor (The Body Is Not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love)
These results are completely lopsided: it was not the case that 51 percent of the Americas, Australia, and Africa was conquered by Europeans, while 49 percent of Europe was conquered by Native Americans, Aboriginal Australians, or Africans. The whole modern world has been shaped by lopsided outcomes. Hence they must have inexorable explanations, ones more basic than mere details concerning who happened to win some battle or develop some invention on one occasion a few thousand years ago.
Jared Diamond (Guns, Germs And Steel)
In the classic case of the Mountain Arapesh, Margaret Mead maintained they were and had been peaceful, yet there is solid evidence that no more than a generation earlier they had engaged in substantial warfare, thus demonstrating the problem that arises involving warfare with all such studies.25 Thus research by university-trained anthropologists of the twentieth century is much less useful for understanding forager warfare than the early accounts of explorers, missionaries and patrol officers. Such early historic and ethnographic data on the Alaskan Iñupiaq and Aboriginal Australians can be extremely enlightening.26 These early accounts have the potential for bias and lack of completeness and must be used with caution, but such is the case with all data. It appears that the failure to comprehend the problems with recent, twentieth-century ethnographic studies renders the opinions of people like Douglas Fry and Brian Ferguson about peaceful societies virtually worthless.” (Steven Leblanc)
Garrett G. Fagan (The Cambridge World History of Violence)
[A]n increasing number of people around the world are seeing their place for the first time within this naturalistic worldview. This recognition represents for humanity a return to the cosmos, a more sophisticated integration of culture and cosmos that humans possessed when cultures began, ranging from Stonehenge and the ancient civilizations such as Sumer and Egypt to Native Americans and the Australian aborigines.
Steven J. Dick (Cosmos & Culture: Cultural Evolution in a Cosmic Context)
Thousands of years of wandering stripped the Central Australian aboriginal of independent ability toplan a future, and made him master only of the moment. His dwellings always have been temporary crude things of sticks and leaves and grass, built in a few hours and abandoned at the mystic call of far-away food, water, or tribal ceremony. He gorged himself today, starved tomorrow, and shared his temporary possessions. He believed in his descent from spirit and dream forms of totemic ancestors in an amazingly intricate and ceremonial network, which still baffles many of the world’s foremost anthropologists. A curiously talented race, with the minds of designing mathematicians yet little ability to count; whose great strength and past lay back in the ages of legend and ceremony; whose future was never their own concern, but the pawn of circumstance; a people who could not think ahead, but feverishly worshipped the traditions of the past.
Arthur Groom (I Saw a Strange Land)
Some say the idea that the world's trajectory is driven by conquest followed by innovation and intensification is satisfying to the Western mind because of our psychological dependence on our imperialist history. But if we give consideration to the idea that change can be generated by the spirit, and through that by political action, the stability of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures might be more readily explained.
Bruce Pascoe (Dark Emu)
Were they really Aboriginal? Did they really belong to Warren Finch's ancestral country? Anthropologists, lawyers and other experts, like archeologists, sociologists and historians, were called to examine the genealogies of these people. And emergency legislation was bulldozed through parliament in the dead of night which claimed that Warren Finch was the blood relative of every Australian, which gave power to the government to decide where he was to be buried.
Alexis Wright (The Swan Book)
After all, they have as much right to live there as we have.
Denise Cook (That Was My home: voices from the Noongar camps in Fremantle and the western suburbs)
Go to your elders. You should ask them about your country and your totem. Because that is your identity. A blackfella with no identity is a lost blackfella. He don't know where he belongs.
Gary Lonesborough (The Boy from the Mish)
They are caught between one world and another, and they no longer belong anywhere.
Alison Croggon (The River and the Book)
Nevertheless, every Nazi has Jewish ancestors. Every White supremacist has Middle Eastern ancestors. Every racist has African, Indian, Chinese, American Indian, and Aboriginal Australian ancestors, as does everyone else, and not just in the sense that humankind is an African species in deep prehistory, but at a minimum from classical times, and probably much more recently. Racial purity is a pure fantasy.
Adam Rutherford (How to Argue With a Racist: What Our Genes Do (and Don't) Say About Human Difference)
Chris was told he had been assigned to work in a communications vault that was the nerve center for this system of international espionage—a code room linking the TRW plant with CIA Headquarters and Rhyolite’s major ground stations in Australia. The continuing disclosures about the secret world fascinated Chris, and he was especially intrigued by what he saw as a bizarre contrast between the mechanical spies he had been told about and the location of the ground stations. The Rhyolite earth stations had been planted in a world that was about as close as man could find now to the Stone Age; they were situated near Alice Springs in the harsh Outback of Australia, an oasis in a desert where aborigines still lived much as Stone Age men did thousands of years ago. Under an Executive Agreement between the United States and Australia, Chris was told, all intelligence information collected by the satellites and relayed to the network of dish-shaped microwave antennas at Alice Springs was to be shared with the Australian intelligence service. However, Rogers told Chris, the United States, by design, was not living up to the agreement: certain information was not being passed to Australia. He explained that TRW was designing a new, larger satellite with a new array of sensors; the Australians, Rogers emphasized, were never to be told about it; anytime Chris sent messages that would reach Australia, he must delete any reference to the new satellite. Its name was Argus, or AR—for Advanced Rhyolite. Whoever in the CIA had selected the cryptonym must have enjoyed his choice, because it was appropriate. In Greek mythology, Argus was a giant with one hundred eyes … a vigilant guardian.
Robert Lindsey (The Falcon and the Snowman: A True Story of Friendship and Espionage)
It turned out that 1–4 per cent of the unique human DNA of modern populations in the Middle East and Europe is Neanderthal DNA. That’s not a huge amount, but it’s significant. A second shock came several months later, when DNA extracted from the fossilised finger from Denisova was mapped. The results proved that up to 6 per cent of the unique human DNA of modern Melanesians and Aboriginal Australians is Denisovan DNA.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)