Mountain Man's UseNet Archive

Australian Aboriginal Elders travel
to the US to put matters right ...

Robert Bropho & others

Web Publication by Mountain Man Graphics, Australia in the Southern Summer of 1996

Date: Fri, 02 Feb 96 10:45:41 -0800
From: mktrecon@iinet.net.au
To: alt.native
Subject: Australian Aboriginal Elders in US to protest movie deal

mktrecon@iinet.net.au wrote:


Australian Aboriginal Elders are travelling to the United States on January 26 to meet with film makers who are in the final stages of negotiations for a movie based on the best-selling book - 'Mutant Message'.

"We want to block the move by Hollywood executives at United Artists to turn Marlo Morgan's lies and distortions into a major motion picture", says Robert Eggington, an Aboriginal activist spearheading the trip.

United Artists has agreed to meet with the Aboriginal Elders at a high level meeting in Los Angeles. Scriptwriter Ann Hamilton Phelan, who wrote the script for "Gorillas in the Mist" is expected to attend.

'Mutant Message' is written by American New Age author Marlo Morgan. It chronicles an alleged four-month "walkabout" that Morgan alleges she took in the Australian Outback in the mid-1980's with an obscure tribe of Aborigines.

The book has outraged members of the Aboriginal community for misrepresenting sacred religious and cultural beliefs. 'Mutant Message' appeared on the US best seller list for 25 weeks.

Morgan continues to lecture nationally on Aboriginal culture, saying it can teach Westerners about "their inner selves".

Eggington, however is not amused. "Marlo Morgan has taken away the right for Aboriginal people to tell their own story as she saturates the American market with a complete fabrication."

"As Aboriginal people, we have the right to ownership of our heritage. We are the custodians of the oldest living culture in the most ancient land mass on the face of the Earth."

The group of eight elders will arrive at LAX airport on January 26th. They will hold a media conference at the Roosevelt Hotel, Hollywood Blvd on Tuesday, January 30th at 11:00am.

For further information, please contact:

In Australia: Robert Egginton, Perth's Dumbartung, Aboriginal Corporation - Tel: 011 619 4514977 In the US: Patricia Friedel, Tel: (415) 673-9102, Fax: (415) 788-1119

E-Mail: mktrecon@iinet.net.au in Perth, Australia
Web: Under the Dome of the Sky in Corringie, W.A.


who have met together in 1992 1993 1995 at Manu Ariki Marae, Taumaranui, Aotearoa (New Zealand) and who are pledged to look after guide and teach the next seven generations of our youth how to survive and TO ALL INDIGENOUS PEOPLE WHERE YOU ARE AND WHO YOU ARE

It is hoped by me as the 12th Spiritual Elder, of Australia, that each and every one of you will receive the information that I will be in America on 26.1.96 to 6.2.96.

It is hoped by me that each and every one of you Spiritual Elders will be able to support in whatever way you can. It is to deal with our Indigenous Ancient Living Culture and how this woman, Marlo Morgan of America, a white woman, from Kansas City, is trying to destroy it through her book 'Mutant Message Downunder' and through her lecture tours over the United States, Europe and other parts of the World and now through having a film made. It is through the eruption of Marlo Morgan exploiting our Culture and our Blackfella Religion and our Sense of Belonging that our Elders and People Australia-wide have become deeply concerned with this issue.

Marlo Morgan is becoming a rich woman overnight and telling lies about our Beliefs and Culture. Many Aboriginal people have read her book and have heard tapes of her speaking at lecture tours. She is being very racist saying Aboriginal people have made a decision to die out. Her lecturing makes fun of us the Aboriginal People and our Beliefs. It is not a laughing matter.

All this has to be corrected by the Indigenous People of this Land.

There have been meetings over the last year throughout the Central and Western Desert, South Australia, the Kimberleys, and the South West coordinated by Dumbartung. All are agreed in a united voice of concern that we must speak in America concerning Marlo Morgan's book. Not one individual or group knew or was aware of Marlo Morgan's claimed presence in their areas.

It is also asked by me and my community of Nyungah people living on our Sacred Homegrounds on the Dreaming Track of the Sacred Belief of the Waugal Rainbow Serpent in the Swan Valley Western Australia, to the 11 Spiritual Elders and to Indigenous People where you are and who you are, can you support?

We are asking for world indigenous support by telegram, letters, faxes, making statements, by contacting the Publishers of that book, Harper Collins to withdraw it, and the film people who have bought the rights, Uniter Artists to stop, and American T.V. radio, newspapers and Oprah Winfrey who put Marlo Morgan on air.

We ask the First People, the Native Peoples of the Americas & the World to support strongly as their Ancestors and all the Ancestral People did supporting one another

Togetherness is Strength
Togetherness is Hope

Robert Bropho, Nyungah Elder and Spokesperson, Swan Valley Western Australia.

Date: Fri, 02 Feb 96 08:54:37 -0800
From: mktrecon@iinet.net.au wrote:
To: alt.native
Subject: Apology to Australian Elders

mktrecon@iinet.net.au wrote:


by Vanessa Gould
the West Australian Newspaper
31 January 1996

HOLLYWOOD action star Steven Seagal has brokered an apology to eight Aboriginal elders from Marlo Morgan, the American author who claimed first-hand experience of a group of unknown Aborigines she called the wild ones.

The New Age author of a best-selling book, Mutant Message From Down Under, claimed she was initiated by the tribe during a four-month walkabout in the central desert.

In an emotional hour-long telephone call to Morgan in New York from Seagal's Hollywood studio on Monday, Morgan admitted for the first time to the eight elders that her work was fiction and a fabrication.

"She sounded really upset, she was really sorry," WA Nyungah delegate Mingli Wanjurri-Nungala said from Los Angeles.

"Most of us said what we felt and also said we didn't want to attack her personally. We just wanted to get rid of this story and all the cultural desecration it has caused".

The group did not want her money or any compensation, just to stop the story.

Morgan made $1.8 million from the first book's publishing rights, is likely to make $3 million from a second volume, and stood to make up to $90 million from lecturing and film rights. The book has been published in 11 languages.

She had written a disclaimer in the second 1994 edition of her book, published by Harper Collins, which said the book was fiction, but based on her experiences in Australia. However she maintained this was only to protect the identity of the tribe.

Dr John Stanton, curator of the Bendt Museum of Anthropology at the University of Western Australia, said the book contained misleading and damaging information about Aboriginal people which had pandered to the gullibility of Americans desperate for New Age ideas.

It included facile ideas such a dolphins, koalas and platypus being sacred to Aborigines in the middle of the desert and culturally denigrating statements which confused intimate and secret details of men's and women's lore.

He was not sure whether the damage the book had done to the overseas image of Aboriginal culture, which was complex, diverse and vibrant, could be ever undone.

Seagal's lawyers were to prepare a written apology from Morgan. The group would hold a press conference in the Los Angeles Press Club today to reveal its contents.

Robert Eggington, of Perth's Dumbartung Aboriginal Corporation who has gathered evidence for the trip for 15 months, said from Los Angeles that Morgan's apology would send a message to other New Age authors that Aboriginal people would not remain silent while their culture was exploited.

E-Mail: mktrecon@iinet.net.au in Perth, Australia
Web: Under the Dome of the Sky in Corringie, W.A.

Further resources on the Australian Native Peoples


Mountain Man's UseNet Archive

Australian Aboriginal Elders travel
to the US to put matters right ...

Robert Bropho & others

Web Publication by Mountain Man Graphics, Australia in the Southern Summer of 1996