The Dark Emu debate: did the publishing phenomenon get it wrong?

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Stuart Rintoul's June 12 cover story 'Debunking Dark Emu' argues Bruce Pascoe’s best selling book, Dark Emu, devalues pre-colonial Aboriginal peoples by suggesting they were farmers, irrigators and builders when there is no substantial evidence to prove this. Rintoul interviews veteran anthropologist Peter Sutton and archaeologist Keryn Walsche, whose new book, Farmers or Hunter-Gatherers: The Dark Emu Debate, insists that mainland Aborigines had no interest in tilling the soil, instead valuing their spiritual relationship with the land and respectfully continuing what had gone before. Moderated by Good Weekend deputy editor Greg Callaghan, Stuart and Peter acknowledge that Dark Emu has revived interest in Indigenous culture and history, but believe it has become a propagator of misleading information, reinforcing a Eurocentric view of civilisation, with agriculture and technology at the top and hunter-gatherer societies at the bottom.

Read the full story: https://www.smh.com.au/national/debunking-dark-emu-did-the-publishing-phenomenon-get-it-wrong-20210507-p57pyl.html

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