The Dadirri Imposture

The Dadirri Imposture, by Anthony Morris.

For those inclined to signal their virtue, Aboriginal ‘culture’ presents a problem. With no written language or literature, permanent architecture, horticulture or animal husbandry there is little on which to lavish patronising praise. The solution? Stitch together a ‘philosophy’ from whole cloth. …

What is called dadirri has been embraced by the Roman Catholic and Anglican communions in Australia for its spiritual benefits and its powers of emotional and psychological healing, while institutions as diverse as the Queensland University of Technology, the University of Technology Sydney, James Cook University and the Lowitja Institute have commended it as a “research methodology”, and Curtin University has gone so far as to endorse it as an “Indigenous philosophy”. …

Needless to say, the key to this acceptance lies in the word indigenous. Do a Google search for dadirri, and you will find repeated references to it as an “Aboriginal tradition”, or as a feature of “Indigenous culture”. For clergy given to “virtue signalling”, as much as for academics determined to parade their credentials for proactive inclusiveness, there are no sweeter sounding words in the English language than Aboriginal and indigenous, especially when linked with words like tradition or culture.

Even on the most generous view, it is no more accurate to label dadirri as an “Aboriginal” or “indigenous” tradition than it would be to call the Welsh [meditation] practice of myfyrdod a “European” tradition. The only anthropological evidence — limited to a single source — confines dadirri exclusively to women of the Ngangikurungkurr people, some 150 to 200 individuals in the communities of Nauiyu, Peppimenarti and Wudigapildhiyerr, and in outstations on nearby traditional lands near Daly River in the Northern Territory south of Darwin. …

For goodness sake, spare us the claptrap about relief from pain and trauma, about remediation of mental illness, about it being a “research methodology” or a “philosophy”. If dadirri has anything to offer white Australians, that offering will not be enhanced by such ludicrous claims. It will only encourage thinking Australians to place dadirri in the dustbin with all the other fatuous promises offered by the bleeding-heart Leftist high-priesthood, regardless of whether they happen to be attired in clerical vestments or academic gowns. …

“Oldest culture” is patronizing and saying it is primitive:

It has become fashionable to refer to indigenous Australians as representing “the oldest continuous culture on Earth”. But it takes only a moment’s reflection to recognise that, even if it were accurate, this description is deeply patronising, insulting and frankly racist. In some contexts, “oldest” may be considered complimentary: say, “the oldest family in the county”, or “the oldest recipient of a gold medal”. But, in speaking of a culture, “oldest” is practically a synonym for “most primitive”. The term “continuous” merely adds an imputation of stagnation to the slur of decrepitude. …

hat-tip Stephen Neil