Young Dark Emu: A Truer History
Bruce Pascoe
Publisher: Magabala Books
ISBN: 9781925360844
Awards Year: 2020
Category: The Eve Pownall Award for Information Books

This book argues that for 80,000 years, Aboriginal people were living in established agricultural societies in managed landscapes, reliant on Aboriginal astronomy. Farming and food supplies were determined by Emu Dreaming, the spaces between the stars of the Milky Way, where the Spirit Emu resides. Citing colonial diaries and artworks describing organised villages and regulated food supplies, Pascoe shows how the decimation of Aboriginal people and culture ensured that after 1860 all evidence of any prior complex civilisation was eradicated. A passionate environmentalist, Pascoe advocates the cultivation of indigenous plant species, needing no extra water or pesticides, are potentially capable of meeting our carbon emission targets. Visual and textual information is produced on a traditional palette of ochre yellow, red and oranges and charcoal black. Full-page illustrations magnify and enhance detail in the historical photographs, documents, engravings, diary entries and sketches. This beautifully produced book presents a powerful argument that debunks the notion of terra nullius that positions Aboriginal people as nomadic hunter gatherers through an engaging discussion accessible to primary school and young adult readers.