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16 JANUARY 2015

Pilger's message to white Australia cannot be dismissed

"Mainstream Australia has long lacked a real education about Aboriginal people, about our shared history, and this nation's brutal past. Fortunately, there's a simple way in–an opportunity to get a 'punter's guide' to the truth about the treatment of Aboriginal Australians."

(Sol Bellear, 2 March 2014)

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2013Aboriginal Australians • Aboriginal elder • Aboriginal Medical Service • Aboriginal peopleAlan LoweryapartheidatrocitiesAustralia • Australia Day • blackfellas • Bob Randall • brutal treatment • colonisationconcentration campcultural hegemony • death in custody • documentary film • Edmund Barton • eugenicsFirst Australiansforced sterilizationgenocide • Gina Rinehart • half-caste • indifferenceIndigenous AustraliansIndigenous peopleinjusticeJohn Pilger • Lang Hancock • mainstream Australia • Noel Nannup • non-Aboriginal Australia • Northern Territoryplaying godpolice brutalitypovertyracial inequalityreconciliation • reparations • Rosie Kunoth-Monks • Rottnest Island • Sol Bellear • South Australiastolen generations • uncomfortable truths • Utopia (2013) • Vince Forrester • vox pops • Warren Snowdon • Western Australiawhite Australia policywhite settlement • whitefellas

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
07 NOVEMBER 2014

Songlines: How Indigenous Australians Use Music to Mark Geography

"There are many different methods of pre–literate navigation that have been documented around the world. One of the most unique, a fusion of navigation and oral mythological storytelling, originated among the indigenous peoples of Australia, who navigated their way across the land using paths called songlines or dreaming tracks. In Aboriginal mythology, a songline is a myth based around localised 'creator–beings' during the Dreaming, the indigenous Australian embodiment of the creation of the Earth. Each songline explains the route followed by the creator–being during the course of the myth. The path of each creator–being is marked in sung lyrics. One navigates across the land by repeating the words of the song or re–enacting the story through dance, which in the course of telling the story also describe the location of various landmarks on the landscape (e.g. rock formations, watering holes, rivers, trees). In some cases, the paths of the creator–beings are said to be evident from their marks on the land (petrosomatoglyphs), such as large depressions in the land which are said to be their footprints (parallels can certainly be seen in some North American First Nation creation stories).

Songlines often came in sequences, much like a symphony or album today. By singing a song cycle in the appropriate order could navigate vast distances, often travelling through the deserts of Australia's interior (a fact which amazed early anthropologists who were stunned by Aborigines that frequently walked across hundreds of kilometres of desert picking out tiny features along the way without error). Each group had its own set of songlines that were passed from generation to generation so that future generations would know how to navigate when in neighbouring tribes' territories. The extensive system of songlines in Australia varied in length from a few kilometres to hundreds of kilometres in length crossing through lands of many different Indigenous peoples. Since a songline can span the lands of several different language groups, different parts of some songlines were in different languages corresponding to the region the songline was navigating through at the time, and thus could only be fully understood by a person speaking all of the languages in the song."

(The Basement Geographer, 21 October 2010)

Fig.1 "What are song lines?" Colin Jones, lecturer in Aboriginal History, talks about his culture, his history and his art. Queensland Rural Medical Education.

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Aboriginal mythologyancestral beings • ancestral heroes • animist belief systemAustralia • Colin Jones • creation narrative • creation spirits • Creator Beingscultural memory • cultural webs of memory • dreaming (spirituality) • dreaming tracks • earth motherFirst AustraliansFirst Nations • genii loci • geographical point • Indigenous Australians • kin-grouping system • kinship • landmarkslandscapelocationmappingmarkers • mythological storytelling • navigation systemnavigational methodsoral historiesorientationorigin myth • paths • petrosomatoglyph • place • point-to-point • pre-literate navigation • pre-literate societiessequences and spatial practisessmooth space • song cycle • songlinesspatial literacyspatial narrativespiritualitysymbolic placeterritorytimeless timetopology • totemic ancestors • voice map • watering holewayfinding

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
16 MARCH 2012

Babakiueria: the colonialisation of European Australians by Indigenous Australians

"Presenter Duranga Manika (Michelle Torres) describes her fascination with white people and their customs and explains how she spent six months living with a 'typical white family' (Tony Barry, Cecily Polson, Kelan Angel, Margeurita Haynes). She also asks members of the general public for their opinions on white people and speaks to the Minister for White Affairs (Bob Maza).

[Geoffrey] Atherden's script takes stereotypes of Australian culture and, with tongue–in–cheek humour, views them as though for the first time, as mysterious, alien and strange. Here, the barbecue is singled out. Elsewhere Manika describes the football match as ritualised violence and betting at the TAB as a religion, while a police commissioner calls the Anzac Day March a ritual where white people 'honour their warrior ancestors' but wonders why it can't be done at home.

Presenter Duranga Manika's ethnographic study of white people simplifies, patronises and mystifies her subjects. Every mundane detail of this one family's everyday life is invested with serious cultural significance. Bob Maza's Minister for White Affairs compresses a history of government treatment of Indigenous Australians into one self–satisfied, authoritative figure. It is interesting that while these characters treat 'white' culture with such fascination, they treat 'black' culture as such a given that the audience does not find out much about it."

(Kate Matthews, Australian Screen)

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17881986Aboriginalalien and strangeANZAC • ANZAC Day • ASO • audio and visual heritageaudiovisual archiveAustraliaAustralian cultureAustralian Screen • authoritative figure • Babakiueria • barbecue • Barbecue area • BBQ • belongingblack culture • Bob Maz • Bob Maza • Cecily Polson • colonial misrecognition • colonisationcultural anthropologycultural critiquecultural perspectivecultural significanceculture and customsethicsethnographic studyethnography • Euro-Australians • European Australians • fictitious land • First Australiansflagfootball • for their own good • gambling • Geoffrey Atherden • government treatment • humourIndigenousIndigenous AustraliansIndigenous peopleinvasion • Kelan Angel • Margeurita Haynes • Michelle Torres • Minister for White Affairs • mockumentary • National Film and Sound Archivenative peopleNFSApatronisingpostcolonial • powerboat • racial inequality • racial profiling • religionritual • ritualised violence • role-reversal • satiresatiricalsettlementstereotype • TAB • tongue-in-cheek • Tony Barry • typical white family • untamed land • white culture • white people • white settlement

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
29 APRIL 2011

The Secret Country: The First Australians Fight Back

Alan Lowery and John Pilger's 1985 documentary "The Secret Country: The First Australians Fight Back" which describes the shameful history of persecution of the Aborigines in Australia.

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1985Alan Loweryancient peopleanimist belief systematrocitiesAustraliaAustralian Aborigine • Australian Radiation Laboratory • Captain Cook • Charlie Perkins • colonisationcultural hegemonycultural historycultural identitycultural resistanceculture and customs • David Gulpilil • desertdiscriminationdocumentary filmFirst Australians • Freda Thornton • genocideGough Whitlamhumiliation • Indigenous Australia • Indigenous AustraliansIndigenous peopleJohn Pilger • Keith Lokan • Kevin Kearney • land rights • malnutrition • Maralinga • Marcia Langton • Mario Fredericks • massacre • Mawuyul Yanthalawuy • native people • nigger hunt • noble savage • nuclear testing • persecution • Preston Clothier • racial inequality • Ray Henman • resistanceself-determinationTerra NulliusTorres Strait Islander • unoccupied land • Vince Forresterwhite settlement

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
10 OCTOBER 2009

First Australians: the birth of contemporary Australia

"First Australians chronicles the birth of contemporary Australia as never told before, from the perspective of its first people. First Australians explores what unfolds when the oldest living culture in the world is overrun by the world's greatest empire. Oven seven episodes, First Australians depicts the true stories of individuals–both black and white–caught in an epic drama of friendship, revenge, loss and victory in Australia's most transformative period of history."

(Queensland Art Gallery)

1). Production image for First Australians 2008 | Director: Beck Cole, Rachel Perkins| Image courtesy: Blackfella Films

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TAGS

AboriginalAustraliaFirst Australianshistory • Mabo • reconciliationsettlement • Sorry Day • Terra Nulliuswhite settlement

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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