By Phyllis Kaberry
First released in 1939 by way of Routledge, this vintage ethnography portrays the aboriginal girl as she fairly is - a posh social character together with her personal prerogatives, tasks, difficulties, ideals, rituals and viewpoint. This groundbreaking and enduring learn used to be researched in North-West Australia among 1935 and 1936 and was once written via a girl who really pioneered the research of gender in anthropology
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Extra info for Aboriginal Woman: Sacred and Profane (Routledge Classic Ethnographies)
Bulagil leaves the others after a time, and goes higher up to fish, and to search for mussels and crabs. She catches about fifteen perch and with this haul will not bother to look very diligently for food for the rest of the day. The same applies to the other wife, who has collected a kulamon1 of lily-roots. They lie for a time in the shade, gossip, eat some of the fish and roots, sleep, and about three o’clock move homeward. For all their desultory searching, there is little that they miss, or fail to note for a future occasion.
Warner’s statement that “the principle of the social bifurcation of the sexes has been used to create the lowest status, that of women and children”. But there is some truth in this; the male elders in Australia do hold the highest social position and exercise the most influence, both because of their experience and of their knowledge of, and position in, the secret life. Then come the younger initiated men, then the older women, the younger women, and finally the children. And this is true in spite of the fact that a woman is sometimes influential in daily camp and horde life, and might even, as I was once assured, be a “headman”.
There is also a wire-pronged spear for fishing with its specially constructed spear-thrower of bamboo, and another for hunting with a blade manufactured from flint, quartz, or glass by the process of pressure-flaking, so that it finally resembles a laurel leaf. Birds such as turkey, eaglehawk, cockatoo, and duck are killed with a small fish spear, boomerang, or throwing stick. Now the long training that is necessary for the use of a spear, speed of foot and powers of endurance, are factors which make the man especially fitted to hunt.
Aboriginal Woman: Sacred and Profane (Routledge Classic Ethnographies) by Phyllis Kaberry