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Issue Details: First known date: 2014... 2014 Dark Emu : Black Seeds : Agriculture or Accident?
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'Dark Emu argues for a reconsideration of the 'hunter-gatherer' tag for pre-colonial Aboriginal Australians and attempts to rebut the colonial myths that have worked to justify dispossession. Accomplished author Bruce Pascoe provides compelling evidence from the diaries of early explorers that suggests that systems of food production and land management have been blatantly understated in modern retellings of early Aboriginal history, and that a new look at Australia’s past is required.'

Source: Publisher's website.

'Pascoe puts forward a compelling argument for a reconsideration of the hunter-gatherer label for pre-colonial Aboriginal Australians. The evidence insists that Aboriginal people right across the continent were using domesticated plants, sowing, harvesting, irrigating and storing - behaviours inconsistent with the hunter-gatherer tag.'

Source: Back cover blurb. 

Exhibitions

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Adaptations

Dark Emu Stephen Page , Bangarra Dance Theatre , 2018 single work drama Indigenous story

'Compelling contemporary dance, soul-stirring soundscapes and uniquely Australian stories – Bangarra is a company at the peak of its powers. In superb form after the sold-out season of Bennelong, we return in 2018 with a major new dance work, Dark Emu

'Inspired by Bruce Pascoe’s award-winning book of the same name, Dark Emu explores the vital life force of flora and fauna in a series of dance stories directed by Stephen Page. With long-time Bangarra collaborators Steve Francis (music), Jacob Nash (sets) and Jennifer Irwin (costumes) bringing their impeccable aesthetic to the production, Dark Emu will satisfy your spirit and connect you to Country.' (Production summary)

Teaching Resources

Teaching Resources

This work has teaching resources.

Teachers' notes via publisher's website.

Notes

  • Dedication: to the Australians
  • Author's note: "If we look at the evidence presented to us by the explorers and explain to our children that Aboriginal people did build houses, did build dams, did sow, irrigate and till the land, did alter the course of rivers, did sew their clothes, and did construct a system of pan-continental government that generated peace and prosperity, then it is likely we will admire and love our land all the more." 

  • Index Page Note:

    Contains: Rock Engraving of Emu Dreaming Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, New South Wales. Photograph by Barnaby Norris.

    'Baiame, the creator Spirit Emu, left the earth after its creation to reside as a dark shape in the Milky Way. The emu is inextricably linked with the wide grasslands of Australia, the landscape managed by Aboriginals. The fate of the emu, people and grain are locked in step because, for Aboriginal people, the economy and the spirit are inseparable. Europeans stare at the stars but Aboriginal people also see the spaces in between where the Spirit Emu resides.'

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Alternative title: Dark Emu

Other Formats

  • Sound recording.
  • Large print.

Works about this Work

Building a Future With the Indigenous Past He Wants to Save the Present With the Indigenous Past Damien Cave , 2020 single work column
— Appears in: The New York Times , 21 August 2020; (p. 12)

'Bruce Pascoe’s book “Dark Emu” sparked a reconsideration of Australian history. Now he hopes to use his writing to revive Aboriginal community.' (Introduction)

[Review] Dark Emu Lily Hirsch , 2020 single work review
— Appears in: AQ : Australian Quarterly , January - March vol. 91 no. 1 2020; (p. 21)

— Review of Dark Emu : Black Seeds : Agriculture or Accident? Bruce Pascoe , 2014 single work criticism

'Reading Dark Emu is both a stimulating and uncomfortable experience. Stimulating because of the astonishing paradigm shift it heralds for our understanding of Australia's indigenous history. Uncomfortable because of the ignominy of our collective ignorance.' (introduction)

Reading and Viewing : [Indigenous Texts for Year 7 - 10] Deborah McPherson , 2019 single work criticism
— Appears in: English in Australia , vol. 54 no. 1 2019; (p. 76-82)
The Study Of Form, The Naming Of Things Alex Gerrans , 2019 single work essay
— Appears in: Meanjin , Summer vol. 78 no. 4 2019; (p. 9-11)

'The instructions on the seed packets are clear. Damage the seed with sandpaper, cover with boiling water for a day, plant singly and cover with wood ash. It’s a simulation of a fire. The seed is a couple of millimetres long, dark, with the beginning of a root dry at its side, as long as the seed itself. I imagine its unfolding: the pale root extends, the cotyledons open. Compare these to basil or lettuce seeds, tiny specks that must be sown shallow into moist earth and covered in about a millimetre of dirt.' (Introduction)

Bolt, Pascoe and the Culture Wars Rick Morton , 2019 single work column
— Appears in: The Saturday Paper , 30 November - 6 December 2019;
'As Andrew Bolt attempts to start a culture war over Bruce Pascoe’s Dark Emu, a search of primary documents affirms the book’s accuracy.' (Article summary)
Book Review: Dark Emu, Black Seeds: Agriculture or Accident? by Bruce Pascoe Lisa Hill , 2009 single work review
— Appears in: LisaHillSchoolStuff's Weblog 2009;

— Review of Dark Emu : Black Seeds : Agriculture or Accident? Bruce Pascoe , 2014 single work criticism
[Review Essay] Dark Emu, Black Seeds : Agriculture or Accident Michael Davis , 2014 single work review
— Appears in: Aboriginal History , December vol. 38 no. 2014; (p. 195-198)

— Review of Dark Emu : Black Seeds : Agriculture or Accident? Bruce Pascoe , 2014 single work criticism
[Review] Dark Emu Lily Hirsch , 2020 single work review
— Appears in: AQ : Australian Quarterly , January - March vol. 91 no. 1 2020; (p. 21)

— Review of Dark Emu : Black Seeds : Agriculture or Accident? Bruce Pascoe , 2014 single work criticism

'Reading Dark Emu is both a stimulating and uncomfortable experience. Stimulating because of the astonishing paradigm shift it heralds for our understanding of Australia's indigenous history. Uncomfortable because of the ignominy of our collective ignorance.' (introduction)

Indigenous Writer Bruce Pascoe : 'We Need Novels That Are True to the Land' Monica Tan , 2016 single work column
— Appears in: The Guardian Australia , 18 February 2016;
'The writer of mixed Indigenous heritage says rather than books about white or black people, Australia needs great novelists writing truthfully about the land.'
NSW Premier's Literary Awards Shortlist Indigenous and Climate Change Stories Linda Morris , 2016 single work column
— Appears in: Brisbane Times , 14 April 2016;
'Tony Birch has been many times a bridesmaid, but there is one literary prize he wouldn't mind losing – the new standalone prize for indigenous writers announced as part of the 2016 NSW Premier's Literary Awards' shortlist on Thursday. ...'
Indigenous Storytelling Has Always Been in Our Blood Susan Wyndham , 2016 single work column
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 17 March 2016; (p. 2)
Pascoe’s History a ‘Vision of an Australia Yet to Be’ 2016 single work column
— Appears in: National Indigenous Times [Online] , 17 May 2016;

'Bunurong man, Aboriginal language guru and jack of all trades Bruce Pascoe has taken out one of the country’s most prestigious literary awards with his latest work, Dark Emu.'

'The Victorian writer won Book of the Year category and shared the inaugural Indigenous Prize at the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards announced at the State Library of NSW in Sydney last night.'

'Ellen van Neerven’s Heat and Light shared the indigenous award and $30,000 with Pascoe.'

Recognising Sovereignty: Bruce Pascoe’s Latest Book A Dark Horse To Lead Battle Over Unfinished Business Amy McQuire , 2016 single work interview
— Appears in: New Matilda 2004-;
'Amy McQuire interviews acclaimed First Nations author Bruce Pascoe, and asks the question why Australia has so readily embraced his book – Dark Emu – and its truths. Does it now mean they must embr ace the issue of sovereignty and treaty?'
Last amended 24 Apr 2020 08:57:08
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