The Dreamtime Stories
The stories of the Dreamtime are very, very old. Passed down through the generations, the Dreamtime stories teach the young the history of their people, how to survive on the land, and how to behave in their society. Over the last century or so, many stories have been written down and translated. They have a dream-like quality both in their characters and in their subject matter-- animals who talk, people who easily traverse the sky and the land, transformations. What do these stories tell us about Aboriginal culture?
Podcast Lecture: The Somniloquy
Lambert, ed. Wise Women of the Dreamtime: "Sturt's Desert Pea," "Murgah Muggui," and "Bralgah the Dancing Bird."
1. What is the lesson of each story?
2. What picture do these stories provide of Aboriginal values? How do some of these contrast with typical Western values?
3. What contrasts does Parker (the translator and commenter) draw between the Dreamtime codes of behavior and the Aboriginal customs she observed?
Oral/Aural Tradition: Listening to a story, or a dream, can be quite different from reading it. These stories were meant to be heard. You can access a number of recorded Dreamtime stories at the Indigenous Australia website. Some of these are narrated by Aboriginal storytellers. Be sure to listen to "Why the stories are told" by Aunty Beryl Carmichael.