Dark Emu: Black seeds agriculture or accident? - Bruce Pascoe

In "Dark Emu" the author, Bruce Pascoe, refers to some other books discussing land use in Australia pre-European intrusion. I've read Bill Gammage's "The Biggest Estate on Earth" and thoroughly enjoyed its challenge to read our landscape differently.

 

Bruce Pascoe has Bunurong/Tasmanian Heritage and brings a more overtly political and personal approach to the question of how humans have managed and lived in the Australian country through the millennia. 

 

The book isn't long, and I'm not going to try to summarise it. It's a challenge to look at the past with new eyes, and so, to see possibilities in the future. Possibilities of native food farming, ecological management, conservation of sacred and archaeological sites, and pride in a sustainable lifestyle heritage.

 

The use of European records to show how they saw the country and the people living in it at first contact is fascinating. There were villages, yam growing (side note: the yam daisy tubers sound delicious), fish processing, so many activities beyond and in addition to what we think of as a hunter-gatherer society -- which is Bruce Pascoe's argument.

 

I learned a lot reading "Dark Emu", from the small stuff to ongoing questions. For instance, I had no idea Australia had it's own red rice, or that it's being studied, and what research like that means.

 

We understand and live in our world according to the filters (preconceptions) we apply. Perhaps the world is more wondrous and more enduring than we've thought.