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Originally published in 1972, this study is dedicated to the surviving speakers of the Dyirbal, Giramay and Mamu dialects. For more than ten thousand years they lived in harmony with each other and with their environment. Over one hundred years ago many of them were shot and poisoned by European invaders. Those allowed to survive have been barely tolerated tenants on their own lands, and have had their beliefs, habits and language help up to ridicule and scorn. In the last decade they have seen their remaining forests taken and cleared by an American company, with the destruction of sites whose remembered antiquity is many thousands of years older than the furthest event in the shallow history of their desecrators. The survivors of the three tribes have stood up to these diversities with dignity and humour. They continue to look forward to the day when they may again be allowed to live in peaceful possession of some of their own lands, and may be accorded a respect that they have been denied, but which they have been forcibly made to accord to others.
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