Indigenous Book Review

by Dragon Annette Guterres, OAM

Bruce Pascoe researched pre non-indigenous settlements by referring to the journals of early explorers, photos, the stories of first Nation Peoples as proof of indigenous settlements to support his case that they were farmers as well as gatherers.

However, the most convincing evidence for us who grew up on a distorted history is that our First Nations people lived on  and managed this land for thousands of years.  The colonial settlers did not.

Being a descendant of  colonial settlers there is a feeling of guilt about what my ancestors did with their sheep and  the clearing of the land.

We now  struggle with soil erosion and infertile soils. Our inherited colonial practices have ruined vast amounts of land.

In the two hundred years since colonial settlement  we are struggling not only with land degradation but the extinction of our native species.

Bruce Pascoe’s book clearly reveals the ignorance of early settlers and their distorted perspective  on events they witnessed.  He tells  the story of a Aboriginal  man fishing. The white witness sees it as a “lazy  method” not as an ingenious one.

The book also illustrates the “arrogance” of our early settlers from Northern Europe who did not absorb the knowledge and understanding of  the land of our First Nations people. 

Note: Aussie Editor Susan highly recommends Young Dark Emu for 6-12 year olds (and for busy grownups!)