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Aranda Traditions

Nature volume 162, pages 276277 (21 August 1948) | Download Citation



IN the early days of the discovery of Australia by the whites, the aboriginals, or black fellows, were stigmatized as degenerate, treacherous and quite untamable. More sympathetic study of these people has, however, rather changed this uncompromising attitude, and once the language difficulty is overcome a far juster estimate of their character can be made. The author of this book was brought up in close contact with the Aranda, able not only to speak their language, but even to think in it. He is able, therefore, to describe their ceremonies and transcribe their chants and folk-tales accurately and feelingly, combining the point of view of the participant with that of the observer. Some previous students of the Aranda have not realized the extent to which the northern, western and southern divisions varied from each other, so that little generalization can be made as to customs and ceremonies as a whole. But by limiting the study to one area (in the first section of the book the northern Aranda area in Central Australia) the author is able to give a reasonably full account of the myths and religion of a strongly patriliniar group.

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