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Title: 'Wild Cat Falling': A Totemic Man who Sought his Dreaming
Contributor(s): Ryan, John S (author)
Publication Date: 1987
Publisher: Routledge
Place of Publication: United Kingdom
DOI: 10.1080/0015587X.1987.9716392
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ISSN: 1469-8315
Source of Publication: Folklore, 98(1), p. 16-27
Abstract: There are many men in myth, fact or fiction who have been caught between societal pressures and so have lost their heritage, of folklore, of mythical beliefs, of tribal customs and of magico-religious practices. No-one who lives in contemporary Australia can be ignorant of the disastrous nature of settler-native cultural contact which, at least in the south-eastern states, has been rather akin to a cultural holocaust, with white 'civilization' virtually erasing aboriginal culture. There are many aspects of aboriginal life which have been withering, but none is more significant than the eclipse of the tribe, which was both a social focus and the place where all the symbolic stories were told. For the tribal aborigine found personality and wisdom in the inanimate, or the faunal species, and in the very landscape itself, expressing this integrating knowledge in taboo, in especially made objects, and by recreating it in myth and in folktales. But whereas the tribe is still the centre of aboriginal life in parts of the far north and north-west, it has vanished in the southern regions of the continent. In the desert portions of South Australia and in the west, away from the cities and towns, it is still possible for the old to relate to the landscape considerable portions of their own rich tribal mythology, and for the younger adults to escape from European values which are so foreign to their traditional and total relationship with the environment. While the relics and carvings are destroyed or whisked off to museums, the folktales can remain, at least vestigially, in the areas which saw their rise. It is, however, occasionally possible to see the aboriginal mind, apparently reeling under the impact of white society, and then slowly recovering a 'dreaming' which had in all seeming been unknown to the lost generations, adrift between two worlds and enfranchised of neither.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Linguistic Anthropology
Causes and Prevention of Crime
Anthropology of Development
Fields of Research (FOR): 160101 Anthropology of Development
160201 Causes and Prevention of Crime
160103 Linguistic Anthropology
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
Peer Reviewed: Yes
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