National Geographic : 1988 Feb
So now I've got to teach my children ... how to learn Aboriginal way. That why I write this book.... THOSE ARE THE WORDS of Big Bill Neidjie, from Australia'sKakadu Man, the book he wrote with anthro pologist Stephen Davis and Allan Fox, formerly of the National Parks and Wildlife Service. Bill autographs copies for tourists in the Border Store, a shop run by the Gagudju Association just inside the park boundary. Bill is a keeper of Gagudju phi losophy, and his book speaks with simple eloquence of the law, the land and how to take care of it, and the two worlds of the Aborigine and the white man. Bill is also one of the special peo ple in anybody's world-some one you have to notice. A big man who speaks slowly in a deep, gruff voice, he also has a sense of humor, with which he sometimes tested us in subtle and not-so -subtle ways. Once when we were visiting, he pulled up to his camp with a dead water buffalo in the back of his truck. "Ah, Belinda, got 'em good tucker here. You cook 'em!" he said, and handed her an ax. And she did it. She chopped it up, and we built a big fire and boiled the beast. Although Bill is passionate about preserving his kind of knowledge, he does not object to the white man's variety. At Jabiru Area School, one Aboriginal stu dent gives her input to another learning a computer game. Bill hopes that the young, after gain ing an education needed to sur vive in a foreign culture, will have a change of heart and turn around. And that is why he wrote his book-to give them some thing to come back to.  NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC (ISSN0027-9358) IS PUBLISHEDMONTHLYBYTHENATIONALGEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY,17THANDM STS. N.W ., WASHINGTON, D. C. 20036. $18.00 A YEAR,$2.25 A COPY. SECOND-CLASSPOSTAGEPAIDAT WASHINGTON,D. C., AND ELSEWHERE.POSTMASTER:SEND ADDRESSCHANGESTO NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC,P. 0 . BOX2174, WASHINGTON,D. C. 20013.