> Hi Ed - this still hasn't been resolved...whaddya think?
> --
> toyoji
> (toyoji@mills.edu)
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> Date: Mon, 30 Jun 97 16:02:14 0000
> From: Bawinanga Aboriginal Corporation 
> To: toyoji@mills.edu
> Subject: secret info on your site
> Dear W3 Didjeridu Page/Sean Borman,
> My name is Peter Danaja, I am the Aboriginal Heritage Officer at 
> Maningrida Arts and Culture in Arnhem Land, Australia. My clan is 
> Bunduri and I speak the Burarra language. We are traditional people and 
> I have been using the internet for the past three years. Some of the 
> information you have on your web page is true and some is not. I am very 
> concerned about what sort of information is put on your website. We 
> Aboriginal people have both information which we call inside and 
> outside. Inside information in our culture is secret and not available 
> to the public. Some of this information is on your website and concerns 
> a secret ceremony which belongs to we Arnhem Land people especially 
> Djinang (Murrungun clan), Wurlaki, some Burarra people and various 
> Yolngu language groups from eastern Arnhem Land (I am in Central Arnhem 
> Land and am linking in ceremony and kinship to these eastern peoples). 
> In the section on myths and legends you mention the Djunguwan ceremony 
> and go on to mention words which are secret and you reveal some details
>  of this ceremony which are also secret. The word "Yulunggur" is not to 
> be mentioned in public to uninitiated people. It was mentioned in the 
> book by Warner (A Black Civilisation) published in 1937 which is 
> probably where you got it from but this book is banned in many 
> Aboriginal communities because of the secret details it contains. It was 
> written before Aboriginal people knew about how publishing could spread 
> the secrets of our culture. Its the same with video and photos and tape 
> recorders too. We would appreciate it if you could remove the 
> information about the Djungguwan ceremony (the name of the ceremony is 
> not secret but its details are). Having this information on your site 
> means that Aboriginal people from Arnhem Land could get in to trouble if 
> they read it. Please respect our culture and remove these details.Most 
> of the other 'myths and legends' in this section also appear to be 
> rather questionable and look as if they have been recently 'made up'. 
> Yours sincerely,
> Peter Danaja
From mulara@agora.rdrop.com Mon Jul 21 08:55:18 1997
Date: Sun, 20 Jul 1997 18:31:34 -0700 (PDT)
From: Ed Drury 
To: Toyoji Tomita 
Subject: Re: secret info on your site (fwd)

 Hi Toyoji,

  Arrg. I am relatively sure that the story about the termites in the
  sky is made up, and have always been. The story by Francis Firebrace is
  performed in his 'act' for tourists and at schools in Australia. In this
  case, I transcribed Francis' story while he was sitting over my shoulder
  telling me ever word. However, if this story by one Aboriginal story
  teller is just a made up one, it is at least from within the Australian
  Aborignal modern cultural/folklore type story. The story by Alastair
  was published both in his original cassette leaflet "The Didgeridoo:
  How to play" and I believe in his booklet, "The Didgeridoo: How to
  Play. In fact, I have seen the word "Yulunggur" in print many, many
  places.  Also, the Djunguwan ceremony has been mentioned, if not in
  fact described, by Elkin, Moyle, and many others in published works
  which are generally available in any library.

  What he is asking for, in most broad terms is censorship by his people
  of certain information. However, I feel rather torn as this is a
  major cultural difference between my (perhaps to some degree our
  shared) belief in freedom of information and a tradition which has
  worked for thousands of years about careful control of secret and
  powerful spiritual practice. What I intend to do, is cut out the
  so called 'secret words' from the Alastair Black material, post a
  disclaimer about the rest. Even then, I'm sure this fellow probably
  won't be entirely happy. But I'm seeing a entire population of 
  young didjeridu players in the US who are treat the instrument as
  a 'noise generator' with no respect, knowledge or concern about
  any culture. So I feel it is important to have a myth and legend
  component to any information on the didjeridu published. 

  Ideally, I would suggest you invite Peter Danaja to contribute what
  he as a member of the culture would want people outside the culture
  to know. That would be the story Dreamtime should present. The aboriginal
  people should have the say in what is told about their history. However,
  the reality is that usually history is not so discriminating. But, if
  in this case, these people have a chance to tell it straight to others
  that would be a small victory.

NOTE: I followed Ed's suggestion and emailed Peter Danaja asking him to send some info. As of Wed Nov 12 15:15:47 PST 1997 I've received no reply - toyoji

Last updated: 10/20/07

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