Bruce Pascoe invented an Aboriginal heritage and a history of alleged Indigenous agriculture and published a book in 2014 that won numerous literary awards and is now on the reading list for school students. Peter Obrien has released a Quadrant Book book based on a forensic study of the historical and personal claims of the author.
Pascoe postulates that, rather than being a nomadic hunter-gatherer society, Australian Aborigines were actually sedentary agriculturalists with ‘skills superior to those of the white colonisers who took their land and despoiled it’. Dark Emu has enjoyed extraordinary public and critical acclaim, winning Premier’s literary awards in New South Wales and named Book of the Year. Professor Marcia Langton called it ‘the most important book on Australia’. Its ideas have already been taken up in school texts and the ABC is producing a documentary series about it.
But nothing in Dark Emu justifies its success. Bitter Harvest is a forensic but highly readable examination which reveals that Bruce Pascoe omits, distorts or mischaracterises important information to such an extent that, as purported history, Dark Emu is worthless. Even worse, it promotes a divisive, victim-based agenda that pits one Australian against another.
There is also a website Dark Emu Exposed.
BONUS. Articles published by Jo Nova.