Newspaper article #5
Destroy Books: Black Group
By Debra Jopson
The head of an organization which forced an American author to
misrepresenting Aborigines has called for the books of three writers to
be taken from all Australian bookshelves and pulped.
The co-ordinator of the Dumbartung Aboriginal Corporation, Mr. Robert Eggington,
said works by the prominent Australian novelist and poet Colin
Johnson - also known as Mudrooroo - should be among those removed from all
bookshops and public libraries.
After investigations by the Perth indigenous arts and cultural protection
organisation, Mr Eggington said he believed Johnson-Mudrooroo was not Aboriginal, even though he had claimed to be over the past 32 years.
My Own Sweet Time by white male Leon Carmen using the fake Aboriginal name
Wanda Koolmatrie, and Mutant Message Down Under, which US
author Marlo Morgan had publicly acknowledged was offensive, should also be
destroyed, he said.
"They should be mashed into more paper where more sensible or more
appropriate things can be written," he said. "People might see it as
burning books, but spiritually, to us, it is our religion which is a special
thing being distorted."
His call came as the management committee of Magabala Books, the indigenous
publishing house which published the Koolmatrie novel, prepared to
consider today asking all public libraries to remove the book from its
Claiming it deceived readers, the chairwoman of Magabala Books, Ms Robin
Hanigan, said she would be disappointed if libraries did not get rid of them.
Mr Eggington said if bookshops and libraries refused to destroy the books,
they should at least label them with a warning sticker in red, yellow and
Mr Andrew Wilkins, a director of Hyland House, which has published six of
Mudrooroo's works, said the author had assured the publishing house he was
Aboriginal and until there was "conclusive evidence" to the
contrary, its support was "incontrovertible."
Those who wanted to get rid of books because they did not like their contents
were getting into "dangerous territory", he said.
The professor of English at the Australian Defence Force Academy, Professor
Bruce Bennett, described Mr Eggington's calls as an "extreme
reaction". "Forms of censorship of that kind are probably a bad idea," he said.
A spokeswoman for HarperCollins, Ms Morgan's publisher, said her book was sold
as fiction, not fact.
Mr Eggington said while author Archie Weller had revealed that his parents did
not identify as Aboriginal, Dumbartung was not calling for his books to be removed. An investigation using "Aboriginal protocol" was first
needed to decide if his claims were true, he said.
Sydney Morning Herald