Marlo Morgan—Mutant Message Down Under: Fiction versus literature

Read what Marlo Morgan writes in her book, then compare it to quotes from literature. Page numbers refer to the English edition as reviewed on this site.

Cannibalism

Morgan claims:

  • “In the past they were cannibals.” (p.37)
  • “History also says they were cannibals and that the women sometimes ate their own babies, relishing the most tender parts.” (p.41)

But literature says:

  • Cannibalism is “an activity usually alleged against a people in a context that justifies their subordination by making them appear inhuman. Evidence for its actual practice among Australia’s indigenous peoples is fragmentary, inconsistent and inconclusive ...” [1]
  • “No other people seem to be as lenient or indulgent toward children as the Australian Aboriginals, and many anthropologists have declared it to be the most child-centered society they have ever observed.” [2]
  • “Aboriginal parents are, on the whole, very indulgent. They pet and spoil their children…” [3]

Trackers

Morgan claims:

  • “Aboriginal trackers have been known to tell from tyre marks the speed, type of vehicle, date and time, and even the number of passengers.” (p.54)
  • “The slightest deviation in the footprint can tell them the most probable destination of the walker.” (p.54)

But literature says:

  • “Police still rely on Aboriginal trackers who, it is said, can tell from a tire track in the sand the time of day it was made, the type of vehicle, the speed, and the number of people in the car.” [4]
  • “By the time they reach adolescence [Aboriginal children] can recognize the individual footprints of as many as 200 to 300 clan members.” [5]
  • ”[An Aboriginal tracker] is so skilled in detecting tiny and subtle differences in the various tracks that she can tell one liru [snake] from another just by the marks they leave. She can tell to which exact species it belongs by the shape of the curves and by the way the snake’s belly scales made contact with the sand.” [6]
  • “That the tracks of the blackfella were those of an Aranda man [...] that is an impossible thing for anybody, not only for a blackfella, for every Aborigine in Australia. None of us can tell a track a different track from another person.” [7]

Communication and Telepathy

Morgan claims:

  • ”[Aboriginals] used mental telepathy to communicate most of the time.” (p.61)
  • “The reason [...][they can do this is because] they never tell a lie, not a small fabrication, not a partial truth, nor any gross unreal statement. No lies at all [...]” (p.63)
  • “The Real People don’t think the voice was designed for talking.” (p.64)

But literature says:

  • ”[Communication] occurred either informally, via a system of signs understood by communicating individuals, or formally, via designated messengers.” [8]
  • “The continuation of true oral literature, that is as told by a storyteller, is important for the continuation of Aboriginal culture [...]” [9]
  • “In their appropriate social and physical context, Aboriginal stories were, and are, as sophisticated as any literature produced elsewhere in the world.” [10]
  • “There were around 600 distinct tribes in Australia, speaking between them about 200 different languages.” [11]
  • “Every Australian tribe has a rich heritage of traditional stories that have undoubtedly been handed down from parent to child over a very long period.” [12]
  • “The Aboriginals believe that communication happens primarily on nonverbal levels, flowing as continually as life itself. The process of relatedness is not limited simply to linguistic exchange.” [13]

Footnotes

View article sources (13)

1. ^ ‘The Encyclopaedia of Aboriginal Australia’, David Horton (ed.), Aboriginal Studies Press, Canberra 1994, vol.1, p.178
2. ^ ‘Voices of the First Day’, Robert Lawlor, Inner Traditions International, Vermont 1991, p.165
3. ^ ‘The World of the First Australians’, Ronald M. and Catherine H. Berndt, Aboriginal Studies Press, Canberra 1992, p.165
4. ^ ‘Interview with NT policeman’, ABC Radio, Sydney 1990, loc. cit., p.174
5. ^ loc. cit., p.174
6. ^ ‘Uluru - Looking after Uluru’, Stanley Breeden, ‘Kata Tjuta, the Anangu Way’, J.B. Books Australia, Marleston 1997, p.87
7. ^ Max Stuart in an interview on the DVD Black And White
8. ^ loc. cit., vol.1, p.215
9. ^ loc. cit., vol.2, p.828
10. ^ loc. cit., vol.2, p.828
11. ^ ‘The languages of Australia’, R.M.W. Dixon, Cambridge University Press, London 1980, p.18
12. ^ loc. cit., p.47
13. ^ loc. cit., p.166