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1 December 2016 Birds and the Spirit World of the Lower Murray, South Australia
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Abstract

Beliefs in bird spirits are still widely held by the Indigenous people in the Lower Murray of temperate South Australia despite an overall decline in the perceived significance of creation ancestors since British colonization in the early nineteenth century. This paper investigates these cultural beliefs in avian spirits. Birds are seen as possessing transformative powers and being mediators between human society and the invisible world. Contemporary Aboriginal people utilize their bird spirit folklore to connect with their past and to highlight their cultural distinctiveness, from both other Indigenous groups and the modern settler society. They draw upon this ornithological body of knowledge that is framed outside of Western science for cultural maintenance, education, and the re-defining of the relationships between knowledge-holders and the broader society.

Philip A. Clarke "Birds and the Spirit World of the Lower Murray, South Australia," Journal of Ethnobiology 36(4), 746-764, (1 December 2016). https://doi.org/10.2993/0278-0771-36.4.746
Published: 1 December 2016
JOURNAL ARTICLE
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