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Title: Folk tales
Contributor(s): Ryan, John S  (author); Seal, Graham (author)
Publication Date: 1993
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Abstract: Aboriginal secret-sacred myths and legends do not fall into the category of folk tales. Such narratives occupy a place in traditional Aboriginal cultures roughly comparable to that of the gospels in Christian cultures, or the holy books of other religions. To describe them as 'folklore', that is as essentially informal and unofficial expressions and practices, is therefore both inaccurate and, given the connotations of triviality and untruth that the term 'folklore' sometimes (inaccurately) has, potentially demeaning. There are, however, some aspects of Aboriginal narrative tradition that can be described as folklore, usually those elements where there has been some interaction with the traditions of recently arrived groups. The stories of the water-dwelling monster known to English-language folklore as the 'bunyip' (q.v.) is one example of this process. The process also operates in the opposite direction, with Aborigines adopting and adapting elements of non-Aboriginal culture to produce various new amalgams, particularly in music and art.
Publication Type: Entry In Reference Work
Source of Publication: The Oxford Companion to Australian Folklore, p. 177-182
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Place of Publication: Oxford, United Kingdom
ISBN: 0195530578
Field of Research (FOR): 160104 Social and Cultural Anthropology
200201 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Studies
200206 Globalisation and Culture
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 950399 Heritage not elsewhere classified
940104 Carers Development and Welfare
940111 Ethnicity, Multiculturalism and Migrant Development and Welfare
HERDC Category Description: N Entry In Reference Work
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