Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Aboriginal leaders in Australia have called for a book teaching girls how to play the didgeridoo to be scrapped. The Australian version of the Daring Book for Girls is due to be published next month. It has angered some indigenous leaders who view the didgeridoo as a male instrument not to be played by women. Publisher Harper Collins Australia said it was not aware of any taboos on women playing the didgeridoo, and has apologised for any offence caused.

The Australian version of the book has replaced much of the original British content with distinctly Antipodean pastimes. But its advice to young readers on how to play the didgeridoo has offended some Aboriginal leaders. In many indigenous cultures, the hollowed out wooden pipe is viewed as a male ceremonial instrument, and women are forbidden to play it. Some Aboriginal cultures believe even touching a didgeridoo can have terrible consequences - and even lead to infertility. One academic called the book's inclusion of didgeridoo lessons "an extreme faux pas". Harper Collins Australia apologised for inadvertently offending anyone, but said there was a "divergence of opinions" within Aboriginal culture on whether girls should play this ancient instrument.

1. Aborigines my not believe in sexual equality but the rest of Australia do.
2. Levels of infertility are probably not increased due to didgeridoo touching
3. How are the rest of us supposed to do the right thing when the Aborigines can't work out the best thing to do amongst themselves. Maybe it is only a problem in groups that have suffered terrible consequences (like finding out they it better than the men).

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