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Dream Trackers: Yapa Art and Knowledge of the Australian Desert

‘This interactive CD is a tremendous educational resource focused on a community’s profound investment of memory in its landscape. The author, working since 1979 with Warlpiri community members, or the Lajamanu people, presents a series of narratives and images inspired by the local terrain. By association with trails that crisscross the Central Australian desert ("Yapa" is a Central Australian world for indigenous people), Barbara Glowczewski brings the land and the community alive through reckonings of ancestral beginnings and contemporary spiritual connections. (…)  The author has worked closely with community members to disseminate these materials through educational contexts where the proper respect for indigenous knowledge and practice is expected. With appropriate supervision and guided participation, students at many educational levels could take advantage of this incredibly rich resource. (…)’

Janet Dixon Keller, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Asian Educational Media Service

‘I believe that Barbara Glowczewski in conjunction with her team of Warlpiri collaborators has achieved something remarkable in Dream trackers: Yapa art and knowledge of the Australian desert. While new technologies have the capacity for less than socially beneficial outcomes, they also have the potential to support Indigenous peoples and other minorities in advancing their political, social and cultural agendas. If properly managed these new technologies can contribute to Indigenous social and cultural maintenance, thereby enriching all human beings. Despite its minor flaws, I believe that Dream trackers represents a potentially generative paradigm shift, and feel confident that it will become an important resource for future generations of Warlpiri. Equally, in terms of ‘how to do’ the anthropology of the future, and by addressing the need for more innovative, culturally inclusive approaches than have often been taken in the past, Dream trackers provides a template. It is because it expands our thinking in these ways that I feel unreserved admiration for this project and all of those associated with it.’

Christine Nicholls, Visiting Professor of Australian Studies, University of Tokyo, Australian Aboriginal Studies

Dream Trackers, an ethnography presented in the form of a CD-ROM, allows users to virtually enter and move about the physical and cultural world of the Warlpiri of Central Australia. Apart from its considerable value as an archive of film and sound recordings, which are organized according to Warlpiri sensibilities, it also represents an important step in creatively adapting computer technology for ethnographic presentations. (…) This work uniquely offers an experiential introduction to the Dreaming, aboriginal Australia’s popularly well-known but poorly understood cosmological complex. Dream Trackers would be a valuable tool for course on aboriginal Australia, religion, and-or art.’

Roger Ivar Lohmann, Trent University, Anthropology of Consciousness






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