20 September, 2015

Real Magic?

After three weeks of sharing stories, learning about culture, politely asking about local history, and generally being respectful to the local Aboriginal land council, I've informally been taught all sorts of things.

I've been told how to identify sacred trees, ritual grounds, and burial sites in the local area, and I've been given the specifics on how to "point the bone" at someone, and what this entails.

A bit like "voodoo dolls", it loses some of the significance when you take this knowledge out of context. I'm wondering if this might just be some joke the locals are playing on the "curious gubba"...

(where "gubba" is a derived contraction of 'government', and refers to a "white fella"... but strangely can be a general connotation for white... "How do you want your coffee?" "Two 'n gubba")

...or maybe it's some kind of general knowledge that everyone in the community is expected to know and I've been accepted enough to be given this knowledge. I've even discussed the notions behind the Walkabout RPG with some of the elders, and they're quite happy that I paused where I did in order to learn more about the cultures I'd be portraying.

As an anthropological exercise, my time with the local elders has been fascinating. As a path of research for Walkabout, it has been invaluable. There's still a whole lot more to learn though, there's no way I could fit this stuff into an intended 60-100 page game, but generally it feels like the path I was on was the right one for these topics.

Two of the boomerangs I've made with the elders...now working on some clapping sticks and other items more specific to the local people.

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