Ancient Aboriginal Astronomy.

EmuInTheSky_Web_LoQual_sRGBIt is acknowledged that Australian Aboriginal culture is heavily spiritual and symbolic, but a rock engraving in a national park near Sydney suggests that the indigenous belief system represents a deep knowledge of the sky and the motion of the bodies within it.
Scientists at Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) have presented the hypothesis that Aborigines – whose existence stretches back, unbroken, for more than 50,000 years – could have been the world’s first astronomers.
Coalsack Dark Nebula (within the Milky Way) is known to the Wardaman Aboriginal people as the head of the ‘Emu In The Sky’.
The rest of its body falls to the left, seen as the darkness between the stars.
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In the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, near Sydney, is an ancient Aboriginal rock engraving of the Emu In The Sky, oriented in such a way so as to line up with the nebula where it appears in the sky at the time when real-life emus are laying their eggs.
This engraving, and the CSIRO’s research, could change people’s understanding of Aboriginal people and the development of advanced human thinking.
See more via Ancient Aboriginal Astronomy | Atlas Obscura.

Black Diggers in WWI.

According to the Australian War Memorial, more than 400 Indigenous Australians fought for the British empire in the first world war. Photograph: Aaron Tait Photography
A century after the first world war, Australia has come to eulogise its Anzac diggers for their supposedly unique capacity for mateship, resilience, egalitarianism and sacrifice.
In the broad Australian consciousness, they have also been defined as white and of European Christian extraction.
But like so much about the clichéd Australian Anzac, this entrenched cultural caricature overlooks the extraordinary experiences of minorities who fought as Australian sons of the empire – not least those of Aboriginal and Torres Strait lslanders.

More than 400 Indigenous Australians fought for the British empire in the first world war. Photograph: PR
According to the Australian War Memorial, more than 400 Indigenous Australians fought for the British empire in the first world war.
This is probably a conservative estimate: thanks to curious Commonwealth rules about who was eligible to fight – Indigenous volunteers had to prove to recruiting officers that they were, despite appearances, of “substantially European descent” in order to be considered for enlistment – the actual number of Indigenous men who served in that war will remain the source of conjecture.
In late 1914 and 1915, when the first of some 420,000 Australians signed up – 39% of the males aged 18 to 44 from a total population of 4m – Indigenous applicants were often rejected.
Then, after the tragic folly of Gallipoli in which 7,600 Australians were killed came the catastrophe of the European western front where 50,000 more perished.

As domestic Australian support for the war waned, recruitment officers became colourblind.
Ironically for the Aborigines – their land stolen and people massacred after British colonisation in 1788, refused recognition as Australian citizens, voting rights or control of their earnings – it became possible to find emancipation of sorts by joining the 1st Australian Imperial Force and fighting under the British flag against the Germans and Turks.
Source: Black Diggers: challenging Anzac myths | Culture | The Guardian

The ‘Surma Boys’ of Ethopia.

9dafa279-844c-417f-80b8-519e4800496f-1020x1020Omo valley, Ethiopia
Surma boys in the lower Omo valley in south-west Ethiopia, which is home to eight different tribes, numbering about 200,000 including the Surma.
A huge hydroelectric dam on the Omo river is being built.
It threatens to destroy a fragile environment and the livelihoods of tribes that rely on the river and its annual flood.
Photograph: Una foto una sonrisa/Survival International
via Indigenous peoples – in pictures | Art and design | The Guardian.

Outback Art Debuts.

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If the far west New South Wales town of Wilcannia has a spiritual sister in the city of Sydney, it is undoubtedly the suburb of Redfern, an indigenous hub that has seen as much trouble as triumph.
It is just a short walk from Redfern Station to the Pine Street Gallery in Chippendale, where the Wilcannia Community Artist exhibition is currently on display.
Here, city dwellers can view the dreams of painters, printers and sculptors from the land of the Barkindji (river people), many of whom have never been exhibited outside of their outback home.
Curator Alex Papasavvas says it was while he was teaching at Wilcannia Central school last year, that he got the idea to take local art to the city.
“Wilcannia was my first graduate position after finishing school,” says Sydney-born Papasavvas.
“It was a big shock for me when I first moved to this isolated community and met Aboriginal people for the first time.”
“What I wanted to do when I was there was to try and teach the students in Wilcannia about art that was relevant to them; that is, artwork made by Aboriginal people in rural New South Wales, preferably from Wilcannia.”
via Outback art debuts in city – ABC Rural (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).

The Kondhs of Odisha, India.

451b3e38-3bdd-4938-be9b-b9cc84a485d5-1020x1020Kucheipadar, India
The Kondhs are the largest tribal group in Odisha, formerly Orissa.
Their culture centres on nature and sacred hills. Utkal Alumina is mining the 200m tons of bauxite under the Baphlimali hills, while the 8,000-plus Dongria Kondh on the Niyamgiri hills have lived under the threat of mining there by Vedanta Resources.
Image Credit: Photograph byJohann Rousselot /Survival International
via Indigenous peoples – in pictures | Art and design | The Guardian.

The Beauty of Dance, Taipei.

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Picture taken during the Rising Winds of Aboriginal Trends, Music and Dance Festival held in 2014 at the remodeled Pavilion of Aroma of Flowers inside the Taipei Expo Park.
People enjoyed music and dance performances by the internationally celebrated Tjimur Dance Theatre, Amis Kakeng Ensemble, and other creative indigenous groups.
via Events – The Strength and Beauty of Indigenous Dance -TaipeiTravel Net — Department of Information and Tourism, Taipei City Government