Tuesday 8 December 2009

A Bama of a mistake

Is near-enough, good enough?
On the Cairns Bulletin ‘History’ page (November p.12) they've made a bumma, I mean a Bama of a mistake.
The historical photograph of two local traditional owners, known as Bama, is mislabeled and also incorrect. While the white names are given, not so the traditional owners.
By implication the ‘natives’ are generic. It took me a couple of quick telephone calls to discover the information is wrong.
Local Cairns historian, Dr Tim Bottoms says that these are two Colonial-appointed representatives, in their role as ‘kings’. One is from the Gimuy Yidinydji, Ye-i-nie; and Billy Jagar, an Yirrganydji, from the coastal Djabugay.

"Interestingly the term ’King’ or ‘Queen’ would have been an anathema to the original Australians," Dr Bottoms says. "The term is an artifice created by the colonial Queensland government in order to create an Aboriginal representative through whom they could communicate with local indigenous groups."
The caption says that these men have "spear and shields", which is also incorrect.
"They are holding wooden swords, that were useed in our local rainforests," says Bottoms.

No comments: