RIDING THE BLACK COCKATOO by John Danalis
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RIDING THE BLACK COCKATOO

Age Range: 13 & up
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Danalis’s story begins in his Indigenous Studies class when he blurts out that he grew up with an Aboriginal skull (dubbed “Mary” despite belonging to a male) on his mantelpiece and “everyone turned and stared at me with a mixture of incredulousness, disgust, and horror.” His classmates’ reactions awaken in Danalis an emotional imperative to atone for his former ignorance and prejudices and to return the skull to his Wamba Wamba descendants. Australian Aborigines are generally a religious people for whom the disturbance of bodily remains means perpetual unrest. Every bone, skull or skeleton that goes “home” matters. In this remarkably compelling memoir, Danalis recounts both his efforts and the horrific mistreatment Australian Aborigines suffered at the hands of whites and reflects on his racial attitudes as a child and adolescent. American readers will easily see the parallels to the campaigns of cultural genocide and extermination waged upon Native Americans. Part history, part detective story, part cultural discovery and emotional journey, this fascinating account reveals the transformative and healing power of reconciliation. (Memoir. 13 & up)

 

Pub Date: Aug. 15th, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-74175-377-6
Page count: 276pp
Publisher: Allen & Unwin/Trafalgar
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 2010