David Martin - Aboriginalsorcery and healing
Journal of the Anthropological Society of South Australia Vol. 33- 2008
actively engaged in support of a free enterprise economy anda free society under limited government where individuals canprosper and fully develop their talents”.
The BennelongSociety is a small lobby group in Aboriginal affairs establishedin 2001, which aims to “promote debate and analysis of Aboriginal policy in Australia, both contemporary andhistorical”.
Both arguably have had a major influence on thepublic debates around Aboriginal affairs and policies, and notonly during the Howard government era; their influencecontinues in many aspects of what can be discerned thus far in Federal Labor’s policy framework.
The religious and magical underpinnings of mundane Wik life
Wik people do not understand their culture and society asresulting from the actions of individual creative human beings,but ultimately as having been ‘left’ by ancestral Heroes. Whileindividual strategizing is a basic facet of Wik life, and isrecognised explicitly at many levels, culture is represented asessentially unchangeable. The sources of European Australianculture are not clearly defined by Wik, but it too is seen ashaving been ‘left’ to Europeans, some suggest by God.General Australian law on the other hand, is said to constantlychange, unlike their ‘Law’. Wik themselves use the Englishword ‘culture’ primarily to refer to their various rituals, their origin and other myths, their totemic institutions, their relationship to land, and their languages—a usage that in factcorresponded rather closely to the lay general Australian onein its concentration on the exotica of a people’s socialpractices and beliefs, rather than to more mundane life.
David Martin - Aboriginal sorcery and healing
Journal of the Anthropological Society of South Australia Vol. 33 - 2008
In referring to the more anthropological sense of culture asmores, manners and modes of behaviour, Wik talk in Englishof ‘our way’ or ‘blackfella way’, and contrast this with their perceptions of that of Whites. In
itself however,both aspects are encompassed by certain linguistic usages.
, whose core meaning is place but can also mean time, isone of a number of words that can refer to both of them; thus
can, depending on context, refer to either (or perhaps both) a close location or to an event soon to occur.Encompassing both senses however, and implicitlyacknowledging the flow of time and the intimate importance of place in their social practices,
is also used by Wik to refer to culture in its broad sense.
Aak ngant yimanang wunan
!(This is our way!) can be used in reference to such diversedomains of culture as the practice (and underpinning beliefs)of mortuary rituals on the one hand, or to how they sawthemselves dealing with money on the other. These practicesand beliefs are not explicitly seen as the product of individualcreativity or will, but as reproducing and being linked throughtime to those of the preceding generations,
aak woyn wuut mangkantam
, and ultimately to the Creator Heroes.Despite the fact that it is portrayed as essentiallyunchangeable, Wik cosmology however does not provide aseamless and unitary corpus of belief and explanation; inaddition to regional diversity, especially between the coastaland the inland peoples, it is fragmented, discontinuous, andeven individualized and idiosyncratic with conflicting versionsand interpretations (Sutton 1978:131-54, 1987). Nonetheless,despite conflicting versions, the various ritual forms ranging