Walkabout Dreaming: A Short Introduction – by Michael Mardel – Review

This author is an Australian native, and he makes his aim pretty clear on the very first page of this book:

“1. To give non-indigenous an understanding and appreciation of Aboriginal Dreaming and the importance of the land to the Indigenous peoples of Australia.

2. To enable non-indigenous to understand the impact of European occupation of Australia on the Indigenous peoples.

3. To enable non-indigenous to recognize the diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples throughout Australia, with an emphasis on the past.”

Even in spite of its brevity, I would say that the author succeeds at delineating the lives of the aboriginals really well. Much of the trivia and tidbits the author shares in this ebook are fun as well as interesting to read; in addition, the lucid language of the book makes it a joy to read. Consider the following trivia:

“The nomadic Indigenous peoples of Australia did not have permanent shelters. They built their homes out of sticks and leaves. ”

But it is not just a book detailing the history of bygone culture; it actually enables you to recreate that very lifestyle in the present times so as to enable you to live the aboriginal life and vicariously experience everything they went through. Yep, the book has plenty of simple exercises to help you do just that. In addition, following each story there are also exercises that come in the form of questionnaire to test your knowledge; in a way, this is more like a workbook than a book. Add to that the several allegorical stories (which remind you of Aesop’s fables) and a list of words related to the aboriginal Australian culture along with their meanings, and I doubt you would need to buy another book on the topic. Of course the author is generous enough to share a list of reference books for further reading, in case you have the inclination.

I would say that if you are of the adventurous type who does not mind facing new and exciting challenges in life and are also quite inquisitive and open minded like me then this is the perfect fun book for you! Due to the easygoing and elaborate style of the author (he spares nothing) even kids can read and work with this book!

BTW, did you know that “In the 19th century, the Aboriginal Protection Board decided that indigenous people should live on missions or stations.”? I did not either, until I read this book!