Contributor(s)University of New England
KeywordsSocial and Cultural Anthropology
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Studies
Globalisation and Culture
Full recordShow full item record
AbstractAboriginal secret-sacred myths and legends do not fall into the category of folk tales. Such narratives occupy a place in traditional Aboriginal cultures roughly comparable to that of the gospels in Christian cultures, or the holy books of other religions. To describe them as 'folklore', that is as essentially informal and unofficial expressions and practices, is therefore both inaccurate and, given the connotations of triviality and untruth that the term 'folklore' sometimes (inaccurately) has, potentially demeaning. There are, however, some aspects of Aboriginal narrative tradition that can be described as folklore, usually those elements where there has been some interaction with the traditions of recently arrived groups. The stories of the water-dwelling monster known to English-language folklore as the 'bunyip' (q.v.) is one example of this process. The process also operates in the opposite direction, with Aborigines adopting and adapting elements of non-Aboriginal culture to produce various new amalgams, particularly in music and art.
Typeentry in reference work