06 May 2005

Aboriginal Nations

Not many would know about the Aborigines (indigenous Australians), or their storytelling. Yet, I feel, some of the best stories have come from them – with an integrity and naiveté seldom found in the stories we read today. What excites me about this is that, the whole culture of the Aborigines (and their storytelling), is conceptualised around dreaming. “Dreamtime”, meaning since the beginning of time, is the history and the culture of the Australian Aborigines.

Some say, Australian aboriginal folktales go back 65,000 years, explaining the origins and the culture of the land. How did the universe come to be; how human beings and animals were created; how the land was shaped and inhabited; how to be a good human being. These were stories told by the elders to their groups, or by mothers to their children, sitting by a campfire – and passed on, orally, from one generation to another.

Many of these stories have been documented in the last 1,000 years and various sources can be found on the Internet. Katherine Langloh Parker has been one to contribute immensely to this documentation, and you can read her Australian Legendary Tales dating back to 1897. Since she had access to the women of a tribe called the Euahlayi, some of her stories have an aborigine woman’s point of view, which adds an interesting perspective to aborigine storytelling.

Recently, many of these stories have been captured on audio and you can download a few of these audio stories from Indigenous Australia. Another organisation, Aboriginal Nations, has created several animated films, taking inputs from aboriginal children in their storytelling and creative development. An idea, we can all benefit from.


vineeta said...

bish, your 'aboriginal nations' topic reminds me of this this book i have been reading. its called "Women who run with the Wolves" by this lady called Dr. Clara Pinkola Estes. it makes for very interesting reading - this woman is a professional Physcho analyst and a 'cantadora' (story teller)so what she does in this book is she takes famous stories and does a detailed symbolic anyasis of the subtext. its a very powerful book. and is a briliant example of the 'power of a story'.
and im really enjoying this blog business :)
ive read the referred entries as well.

PrufrockTwo said...

On the same topic, please do see Bruce Chatwin's 'The Songlines'. Fascinating travel writing.