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 Bruce Pascoe: are white bastards spoiling the lie?

12.01.20. It might well be the “white bastards” who, in the end will fell Bruce Pascoe along with his most spectacular foray into Aboriginal ‘Dream Time’ ever concocted, but a leading complaint about Pascoe’s claim to Aboriginality comes from a genuine Aboriginal businesswoman, Josephine Cashman. Ms Cashman has a double degree in journalism and law and served on the Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Council, she was also invited to speak at the United Nations Human Rights Council about the role of the justice system in Indigenous communities. Cashman now dedicates her time to Big River, the social impact investment group she founded in 2013 to ensure money spent in Indigenous communities delivers results. Her complaint about Pascoe the Dark Emu author was made in a letter to Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton. Read here about Pascoe.
The Australian federal police has received a complaint via the office of the home affairs minister, Peter Dutton, that accuses the acclaimed author and historian Bruce Pascoe of benefiting financially from incorrectly claiming to be Indigenous.

Peter Dutton’s office referred complaint accusing Bruce Pascoe of falsely claiming to be Indigenous to AFP

Source: Adam Morton, The Guardian, Sat 11 Jan 2020 17.04 AED

The allegation was made in a letter to Dutton by Aboriginal businesswoman Josephine Cashman, a critic of Pascoe who wants the government to set up a formal register to assess people’s Aboriginality.
A federal police spokeswoman said it received the allegation on 
Christmas Eve and was assessing it in accordance with standard protocols. It has not launched a formal investigation.
Bruce Pascoe is best known for his book Dark Emu, which drew on evidence from historical records to show Aboriginal people farmed and prospered in large villages. Photograph: Vicky Shukuroglou
The allegation became public after being published on page one of News Corp’s the Weekend Australian.
A spokesman for Dutton said it was standard practice for the minister’s office to forward allegations to relevant authorities to assess, and it was not a reflection of his or his staff’s views on the issue.
Pascoe is best known for his groundbreaking 2014 bestseller, Dark Emu, which drew on evidence from historical records to show Aboriginal people farmed and prospered in large villages, upending previous assumptions about Indigenous Australia.
Dark Emu won a string of awards, inspired a range of projects and has been adapted into a dance performance, a children’s book and an upcoming ABC TV series. It was named book of the year and won the Indigenous writers’ prize at the 2016 New South Wales premier’s literary awards, and Pascoe received the Australia Council award for lifetime achievement in literature in 2018.
Following his success, Pascoe and his work have been targeted by rightwing cultural campaigners, including News Corp’s Andrew Bolt.
Pascoe identifies as of Tasmanian descent and Yuin by cultural law. Cashman, a member of the government’s senior advisory group on the co-design of an Indigenous voice to government, has previously questioned Pascoe’s Yuin ancestry on social media. She declined a request for an interview on Saturday but confirmed she had written to Dutton.
The minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt, rejected her call for an investigation into Pascoe. Through a spokesman, Wyatt said a member of the advisory committee should not have made a formal complaint about the writer’s Aboriginality.
“The minister does not believe this is appropriate,” a spokesman said.
Wyatt has previously said he does not support a register to assess Aboriginality. Last year, he defended Pascoe in an interview on Sky News, saying: “If Bruce tells me he’s Indigenous, then I know that he’s Indigenous.”
Pascoe has been fighting bushfires in east Gippsland and could not be reached on Saturday. His son, Jack Pascoe, said the fires had been burning on his father’s property, that many of the writer’s friends had lost their homes and one had been killed.
“Given the stress of the situation, our family is surprised by the timing of these allegations coming around again,” Jack Pascoe said.
“We stand by the identity of our family. The insinuation that my father has fabricated his heritage is hard to take because for him it’s an issue that has been part of the public discourse for 40 years.”
Jack Pascoe, who is the conservation and research manager at the Conservation Ecology Centre in Cape Otway, said the complaint seemed to be driven by the push by Cashman and others for registry of Aboriginality.
“I’d prefer to be talking about how our traditional ecological knowledge could help mitigate damage from bushfires and reduce risk to communities rather than be talking about these distractions,” he said.
Indigenous academic Marcia Langton, the co-chair of the advisory group, last year said on Twitter that Pascoe was collateral damage in a fight against the facts of Aboriginal history.
Cashman’s push for a register was criticised on social media on Saturday.

{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Pensioner Pete 12/01/2020, 8:59 am

    The majority of those objecting to Cashman’s push for a register are certain to be those with more than a ‘dash of white’.

  • Peter W 12/01/2020, 9:34 am

    Those that scream the loudest have the most to lose. Have they not heard that before? A register MUST be formulated.

    I might tell Ken Wyatt I’m a koori also and ask for the benefits. As a politician he’s a disgrace to come out with such a flippant comment.

  • Greg 12/01/2020, 10:05 am

    I am not comfortable having a high-cost politician tell us, in effect, he will believe anything he is told. Pascoe is a fraud, but that fact requires enormous penetration by certain elements in our society, and dopey people just take a little longer than the rest of us. It really should be as simple as …….ABC…

  • Ex ADF 12/01/2020, 10:58 am

    If, as he claims, he is part Aboriginal, then undergo a DNA test! Don’t talk about it, just do it.

    • John 13/01/2020, 8:10 am

      Trouble is ExAdf that there is no definition of what makes you Aboriginal or anything else therefore anyone can claim anything and DNA and common sense is irrelevant. Hell, this morning I think I will be a Innuit cross dressing trannie, tomorrow a Haitian honkie with homosexual tendencies.

  • Bwana Neusi 12/01/2020, 12:12 pm

    Elisabeth Warren can show him just how effective a DNA test can be in determining aboriginality

  • Lorraine 13/01/2020, 9:44 am

    A touch of white is in many of the claims, with Pascoe he has no touch of black.

  • John 27/01/2020, 5:04 pm

    Ken Wyatt ‘Minister for Indigenous Affairs’ current policy is self- identification fantasy. “If Pascoe tells me he’s Indigenous, I agree he is”. It’s not appropriate to question someone’s identity. Doing so, may get you removed from your position. It’s ‘Dark Misogyny’ when Josephine Cashman risks being thrown under the bus to save Pascoe the fake white man.

    Activists are pushing for Indigenous Australians to be recognized in the Constitution. How will this work if Aboriginal people refuse to be identified? It is just anyone who puts their hand up & why?

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