What Aboriginal people know about the pathways of knowledge

Stephen Muecke

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


What can living in one place for 60,000 years teach a people? Walking with Aboriginal people in the far North-West of Australia has given me some idea. When I wrote the book Reading the Country (1984) with the Berber artist Krim Benterrak and the Nyikina elder Paddy Roe, we walked the world that Paddy was born in – what his people call ‘Country’. I found that the conceptual structure of his world was completely different to the Western one in which I had been trained. Not only was his knowledge not reproduced in books like the ones he nevertheless wanted to write with me, but it had nothing to do with authorship. Knowledge didn’t originate with individuals, and the concept of mind was irrelevant. Knowledge was on the outside; it was held in ‘living Country’. And humans had to get together to animate this knowledge.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages5
Specialist publicationPsyche (New York)
Publication statusPublished - 11 Nov 2020


  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander Australians
  • Indigenous Australians
  • North-West of Australia
  • Krim Benterrak
  • Nyikina people
  • Paddy Roe
  • Living Country


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