Monday, July 5, 2010

Nathanial Pepper

The idea for this blog came from Adrian McKinty's post about The Lamb Enters the Dreaming. I've found recently that some research is helpful in coming up with a reply to some post, and in looking a few things up, Nathanael Pepper's story became of interest to me. Mr. Pepper was a Wotjubaluk Aboriginal who converted to Christianity. If you don't know anything about Aboriginal beliefs, I'll tell you, they are nothing similar, in any way I don't think, to Christian beliefs. Not even remotely. Aboriginal beliefs consist of...well, Wikipedia puts it's better than I can

Aborigines traditionally adhered to animist spiritual frameworks. Within Aboriginal belief systems, a formative epoch known as 'the Dreamtime' stretches back into the distant past when the creator ancestors known as the First Peoples traveled across the land, creating and naming as they went.[40] Indigenous Australia's oral tradition and religious values are based upon reverence for the land and a belief in this Dreamtime.

The Dreaming is at once both the ancient time of creation and the present-day reality of Dreaming. There were a great many different groups, each with its own individual culture, belief structure, and language. These cultures overlapped to a greater or lesser extent, and evolved over time.

It doesn't sound like an easy task to reconcile those kinds of beliefs with Christianity, but I suppose he managed to do it, and I hope to track down the book to read the story of it. What an amazing point of view he must have had.


Philip Robinson said...

I think it helps to understand if we stop thinking of aboriginals as 'primitive' (I hate the term 'primitive art') and more like the Old Testament patriarchs like Abraham that had dreams and a highly developed spiritual intellect before religious 'law' came along.

Glenna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Glenna said...

I see what you're saying, the label as primitive bothered me when I was reading up on it. I didn't understand why they seemed to be looked upon as almost a different species as opposed to people with different beliefs. Maybe I'm oversimplifying though.

Philip Robinson said...

Yea, you're right. I think that was what Adrian was saying when he taled about the different way the aboriginals were regarded in Australia compared to the Maoris in New Zealand.

Isn't there something about the native American Indians (forgive me if that is no longer the preferred name) have a 'dreaming' or spirits in the wind or something?

Glenna said...

Yeah, it sounded similar to me, but I haven't studied up on it. Native Indians aren't looked down on here either..they are basically just like everyone else.