But the general manager of the Victorian Aboriginal Education Association, Dr Mark Rose, says the publishers have committed a major faux pas by including a didgeridoo lesson for girls.
Dr Rose says the didgeridoo is a man’s instrument and touching it could make girls infertile, and has called for the book to be pulped.
“I would say from an Indigenous perspective, an extreme mistake, but part of a general ignorance that mainstream Australia has about Aboriginal culture,” he said.
“We know very clearly that there is a range of consequences for females touching a didgeridoo, it’s men’s business, and in the girls book, instructions on how to use it, for us it is an extreme cultural indiscretion.”
Dr Rose says the consequences for a girl touching a didgeridoo can be quite extreme.
“It would vary in the places where it is, infertility would be the start of it ranging to other consequences,” he said.
“I won’t even let my daughter touch one…. as cultural respect. And we know it’s men’s business.
“In our times there are men’s business and women’s business, and the didgeridoo is definitely a men’s business ceremonial tool.”
That a didgeridoo is a didgeridoo’t for girls or women tempts me to buy one for my daughters. The idea that playing one will somehow, magically, make women infertile is one of the stupider claims I’ve heard in quite awhile.