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Indigenous Spirit and Ghost Folklore of "Settled" Australia

Philip A. Clarke
Folklore
Vol. 118, No. 2 (Aug., 2007), pp. 141-161
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30035418
Page Count: 21
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Indigenous Spirit and Ghost Folklore of "Settled" Australia
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Abstract

Early European records of indigenous Australian mythology describe the activities of Ancestral Creators and spirits. British colonisation was intense in the southern temperate regions, which became "settled Australia." Here, Aboriginal mythology has undergone significant transformations in response to major social and cultural changes. Knowledge of Creation myths has declined, although contemporary Aboriginal people have maintained and developed a rich folklore centred on spirits and ghosts. While the Australian anthropological literature acknowledges the important religious dimensions of Creation myths, studies of the secularised folklore of indigenous communities living in rural and urban areas have been largely neglected. This paper investigates the roles of Australian Aboriginal mythology in recent indigenous and non-indigenous cultures within temperate Australia.

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