Dark Emu

Dark Emu: Black Seeds: agriculture or accident ? written by Bruce Pascoe and published by Magabala Books

If you believe that the First Nations in Australia people have been badly treated then you should read this book. If you continue to believe the old, colonial tropes about First Nations people you should read this book. It gives an account of how a people survived and thrived on this, one of the harshest continents on earth.

Bruce Pascoe not only describes the various agricultural techniques used by First Nation peoples, he also includes the eye witness accounts by explorers and surveyors, of government men and squatters.

The stories of grain storages and agricultural harvest has sat silent in libraries and archives for decades. Some historians knew about them. They just forgot to pass them on in a way that would make sense to ordinary folk.

Yet the language the colonials used to hide their crimes against the First Nations people has survived to be mouthed endlessly by the ignorant. Government policy around land rights and Aboriginal Affairs have not always respected the Aboriginal viewpoint.

I had read a some of these accounts before while doing some research for a project on rural Victoria. You will be as awestruck as I was at the vastness of of some of the enterprises.

I’m not suggesting you read Bruce Pascoe uncritically. But the descriptions of Aboriginal life and industry by such people as Charles Sturt and Thomas Mitchell is compelling.

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