Friday, June 24, 2011

Australian Mythology

I am an Australian author of paranormal romance, and I several of my stories are based (at least partially) in Western Australia - and I have been asked why I don't use Australian mythological creatures in my writing. After all, I've delved into Greek and Middle eastern mythological creatures (Genie, Harpy, Siren, Manticore), American mythology (Chupacabra), Malaysian mythology (Bomoh and Pelesit), Indian mythology (Naga), Japanese Mythology (Baku) and Eastern European mythology (Baba Jaga), so why not Australian?

At University I studied Aboriginal Pre-history and Aboriginal Anthropology, so I'm faily well versed in some of the wonderful myths and legends out there. So why don't I apply this knowledge? Well, Australian mythology is fraught with cultural sensitivity. Who can use Aboriginal myths and cultural knowledge, and how they use it is an area filled with controversy. I would love to use an Aboriginal mythological creature in my writing, however, this would require getting permission to use the cultural knowledge - which in itself shouldn't be a problem, but then how that cultural knowledge is applied sensitively and without offence to any party, would be difficult - particularly in something like a paranormal romance!

Anyway, if you're interested in reading about some of the acceptable protocols and policies, there's an interesting link below, which refers to the Noongar Culture (South-West West Australian Aboriginal People).

This next link is shows some of the turmoil an 'inappropriately' used piece of cultural knowledge can have;

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