Sacred Errand: in Aboriginal Australia (Paperback)

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We all suffer loss - of a dear friend, a diamond, even a misspent day - and then we move on. But how can the Aboriginal people of Australia ever recover from the loss of their essential religious objects, the secret/sacred tjurunga (cher-UNGA) stones? During a century of British colonial occupation many tjurunga, which had bound together countless generations, were stolen, sold to collectors, or forfeited to missionaries. Readers join na ve American Mark Hafford as he jets over the Pacific Ocean en route to Australia. At his feet is one of the Aboriginal "holy of holies," a tjurunga stone inherited from his oilman father. Mark is journeying to fulfill the deathbed wish of his father that the stone should go home. Mark's intent: to hand the object off to an Australian museum, a plan that's not as easy as it sounds. Mark soon finds himself caught in the turbulence of two cultures in conflict, the Aboriginal and the whitefella Australian. His quest takes us from museum to Lutheran mission, from Aboriginal settlements to the natural shrine (and tourist destination) of Uluru. Historically deep-reaching, the book is peopled with real-life explorers and pioneer poets, along with Aboriginal mystics and myth tellers, outback townies and bushies, fathers and sons, lovers and despoilers. Harkey's Sacred Errand is a memoir of the author's actual experience in Australia enlivened by some fictionalized characters. Above all, this book calls on us to respect and protect heritage.Warning: Culturally sensitive material. Aboriginal women and uninitiated men may not wish to read further.

About the Author

John Harkey's Sacred Errand was first presented as an illustrated lecture series sponsored by The Rhode Island Committee for the Humanities. Harkey is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design (MFA '80) and is a retired, award-winning commercial photographer. He has lived in Libya, Australia, Spain, and Argentina. Raised in Texas, he now resides in Providence, Rhode Island with his wife Ginger. This is his first book.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781938517587
ISBN-10: 193851758X
Publisher: eBook Bakery
Publication Date: August 11th, 2016
Pages: 190
Language: English