Dark Emu

Dark Emu | Study Guide

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Study guide for Bangarra's Dark Emu, with specific curriculum references (The Australian Curriculum) for the Learning Areas of English, Humanities and Social Sciences and the Arts.

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Bruce Pascoe’s award-winning book provides an historical account of the sophisticated farming, fishing and land management practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across the continent prior to colonisation, exploding the hunter-gatherer myth which has been perpetuated to support the colonial lie of terra nullius. Dark Emu chronicles what Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have always known, that their reciprocal and interconnected relationship with the environment is both sustainable and sacred.

Inspired by these stories of respect and connection, Bangarra’s Dark Emu is a dramatic and evocative dance response to the assault on land, people and spirit. We celebrate this sharing of knowledge, the heritage of careful custodianship, and the beauty that Bruce Pascoe’s vision urges us to leave to the children.

We hope that the information, suggested activities and additional references in this resource will assist in enriching students’ experience of the performance, while offering a range of study options related to the Australian Curriculum cross-curriculum priority Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island histories and cultures, as well as Aboriginal Perspectives, Indigenous Studies and Arts state curricula/syllabi.