Tuesday, September 23, 2008

kameygal, Gweagal, and Sleep Stuff

Kameygal and Gweagal lived along the shores of Botany Bay.  This is South of the Sydney CBD--near the airport.   From what I read, it seems Kameygal were more to the North and Gweagal were more to the south. I'm assuming they were one of the first to have encounters with Captain Cooks and the gang--well, since the landing occured in Botany Bay.

The Kameygal are known as the spear clan and the Gweagal were known as the fire clan.

Okay, while doing this research, I found a pronunciation for Eora. I'm so grateful!  This website says it is pronounced Yura. I'm glad to know this because in my head I have been saying Eyrore-ah.

The website has a great timeline.

In April 1770, the Eora saw the ships and originally thought it was a big bird.

There's an eighteen year space between Cook's arrival and the arrival of Philip and the rest of the Fleet.  I think in my mind, I always imagine it being right after each other.

Twenty years is a pretty large gap.   It's funny how we squish history together--or maybe I just do that. 

Philips and the others arrived in Botany Bay on January 18 1788.   

Another piece of land occupied by the Kameygal and the Gweagal was Bare Island. This is a tiny little island near Botany Bay. The island was in Mission Impossible II. I'm trying to remember if I saw that movie.  I think maybe I did and then tried to forget it--repress the memory. According to Lord Wiki, the waters surrounding that area are excellent for scuba diving. Tim might enjoy that.

I found a fascinating article about the first words Eora words recorded by the British.

According to the article, in 1770 there were three encounters between white people and the Eora.  

There were 60 words listed in all...taken on three different occasions. One from a surgeon on the ship, one from a crew member and another by a second Lieutenant.

During my research, I also found this website.   It's Not about Kameygal and Gweagal specifically but gives useful facts about the Indigenous Australia population.

In 1914, there were an estimated 20,000 Aborigines in Australia. In 1980, it was up to 150,000. They were given the right to vote in 1967.   

Lord Wiki says that in 2006, the Aboriginal population was at 517,200.  It's not a lot of people.  But there aren't a lot of ANY people in Australia....period.   

Okay....reading more from the website.

Land is sacred to them. They're very eco-friendly.   They have a spiritual connection to the land. Don't worry. I already knew all this. I'm just reminding me.

Oral tradition was very important. Mothers talk to babies in womb--share stories, family history.   Wow and I bet they didn't need Parenting magazine to tell them to do that. 

There were evening campfires where stories were told. The other day I had a vague memory of reading about some tribal culture. It was before I was totally obsessed with Australia. The book or article talked about how this culture doesn't sleep through the night. They'd get up and have chats...talk about their dreams, have impromptu meetings, etc.   It may have been my in spiritual reading--something about dreams. OR it could have been in my reading about co-sleeping/family bed. I'm thinking maybe it was a defense against the idea of sleeping-through-the-night.

I don't sleep through the night. I usually have to pee at least twice.  Then I'm usually up for a few hours thinking about stuff--sometimes stressing about stuff.  

I'm also pretty good at being awakened and snapping to attention.  Within minutes, I can be wide awake and fully functional.   For me, waking up to breastfeed a baby several times through the night wasn't the horror it is for some people.   Some people need seven-eight straight hours of sleep to function, and other people do fine with broken sleep.   

Anyway, I wonder if the people I read about were Australian?  They could have been.  Or they might have been African or American?  I don't know.  

I'm thinking the article COULD have been about dreaming. To increase lucid dreaming, one of the suggestions to wake in the middle of the night, stay awake for awhile and then return to sleep. I think dreams are an important part of Aboriginal culture and if they are the ones who awoke in the middle of the night, this would probably increase likelihood of having cool dreams.   

My gut instinct though is that the article/book was about co-sleeping and our society's obsession with sleeping-through-the-night.   What's one of the first things we ask new parents?  Is he sleeping through the night yet?   I can't say for sure, but I think the article was reassuring parents who did not have children who slept through the night.

I need to read about Aborigines and dreams.   I know the Dreamtime doesn't really refer to the dreams we have at night.   But what role DO dreams play in their culture?   And is there ANY connection between sleeping dreams and The Dreamtime?    I need to read more about Aboriginal spirituality.   I think some of it probably fits with my own beliefs.   Maybe.  

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