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Mutant Message Down Under

Dumbartung Press Release


15 JUNE 1995


Australian Aboriginal Elders will travel to the United States to dispute the misleading and damaging claims made in the book Mutant Message Down Under by Marlo Morgan.

Ms Morgan is a previously unpublished writer espousing new age philosophy.

Aboriginal groups want the book withdrawn from book stores, saying it is deeply offensive to Aboriginal culture.

Australian Aborigines state Ms Morgan's claimed journey for four months across the outback with a "lost tribe" of Aborigines never took place.

Ms Morgan herself makes conflicting claims about the authenticity of her text. She has said the story is true but writes in the preface that it is a work of fiction.

Despite this admission Aborigines find it damaging and dangerous to the integrity of their culture that any perception still lingers that the book is based on truth.

"If she's done what she claims to have done, she has committed crimes punishable by death under Aboriginal law," says Robert Eggington from Dumbartung Aboriginal Corporation in Perth, Western Australia.

Concerned about the wild claims in the book West Australian Aborigines have travelled extensively in the cutback seeking corroboration of Marlo Morgan's claims. Not a single Aboriginal person can be found who has heard of Ms Morgan or her journey.

Marlo Morgan herself refuses to answer questions but continues to promote the book on lecture tours in America and Europe presenting herself as an authority on Aboriginal culture. This exploitation of Aboriginal culture deeply offends Australian Aboriginal groups.

To Aboriginal people, the way the book describes the fictional tribe, as "the Real People" - and the names of its leaders -"the Great Stone Hunter, Sewing Master", etc, - is absurdly unlikely.

Ms Morgan uses some native American concepts such as "Dream Catcher", quite unknown to Aborigines, and superimposes them, mixed in with new age philosophy, on to Australian indigenous culture.

Mutant Message Down Under is discredited by the University of Western Australia's Director of the Berndt Museum of Anthropology, Dr John E Stanton. "It is condescending in the extreme, devoid of any detailed appreciation of Aboriginality, and reflects more of the author's preoccupations and experiences within the North American context than those of Australia."

The Aboriginal Elders from the Central Desert and Kimberley regions of Australia will be leaving for the United States in the near future, and will be firmly rebutting Ms Morgan's offensive claims.

Robert Eggington
Dumbartung Aboriginal Corporation

Phone: 09 451 4977
Fax: 09 356 1823

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