Germaine Greer - Aboriginal Australians

Aboriginal Australians

Germaine Greer has published three pamphlets on Aboriginal issues. According to her own account, she understood little about Aboriginal issues during her early years in Australia, but in England she saw from the perspective of distance that "what was operating in Australia was apartheid: the separation and alienation South Africa tried desperately and savagely to impose on their black majority, we had achieved, apparently effortlessly, with our black minority." On returning to Australia in late 1971 she made a concerted effort "to see as much as I could of what had been hidden from me" travelling for that purpose through the Northern Territory with activist Bobbi Sykes She wrote in 2003: "Though I can claim no drop of Aboriginal blood, twenty years ago Kulin women from Fitzroy adopted me. There are whitefellas who insist that blackfellas don't practise adoption; all I can say is that when I asked about the possibility of assuming Aboriginality, the Kulin women said at once 'We'll adopt you.' 'How do you do that?' I asked, hoping I wouldn't be required to camp in some bleak spot for a month or two, and be painted or smoked and cut about. 'That's it,' they said. 'It's done. We've adopted you.' Since then I have sat on the ground with black women and been assigned a skin and been taught how to hunt and how to cook shellfish and witchetty grubs, with no worse punishment for getting it wrong than being laughed at."

It has been reported in the press that in early 2000, Greer claimed at a press gathering in London that she never set foot in Australia before receiving the permission of the "traditional owners of the land" at Sydney Airport. New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council spokesman Paul Molloy was reported as claiming that she had never asked permission, despite visiting Sydney several times in recent years, and in any case there was no single group of elders that could give such permission to enter Australia. In assessing the credibility or significance of these press reports it should be noted that Molloy's quoted point was made by Germaine Greer herself in her 2003 pamphlet Whitefella Jump Up: "Aboriginal law cannot now be reapplied. In any case no single body of Aboriginal law would ever have applied to the Australian population as a whole."

Read more about this topic:  Germaine Greer

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