Follow the Rabbit Proof Fence by Doris Pilkington


In the heart of intellectual exchange, the Buddha Reads Book Club delved into a profound discussion of Doris Pilkington's “Follow the Rabbit Proof Fence” in their recent meeting. The book, a poignant narrative set in 1931, follows the harrowing journey of three young Aboriginal girls—Molly, Daisy, and Gracie—forcibly removed from their families and taken to Moore River Native Settlement, an Aboriginal settlement and internment camp. The gripping tale, illuminated by the backdrop of the infamous rabbit-proof fence, stirred contemplation and critical conversations among club members.

Mary B initiated the discussion by drawing parallels between the plight of the Aboriginal girls and the treatment of American Indians, sparking a contemplation on the universal theme of indigenous oppression. Bob chimed in, reflecting on recent revelations about burial grounds discovered at “Indian Schools” in the United States and Canada, highlighting the deep-rooted cruelty meted out to indigenous communities. Gary, delving into historical context, pondered whether such attitudes were remnants of Manifest Destiny, a belief that fueled the 19th-century expansion in the United States. He emphasized the role of religion in justifying such actions, drawing connections to the missionaries in Hawaii.

The conversation seamlessly weaved into broader historical narratives. Mary recalled “The Killers of the Flower Moon,” emphasizing the enduring thread of white subjugation even when Native Americans seemingly had agency over their lives. The conversation naturally extended to the forced relocation and incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, as documented in “American Sutra.” While the book was acknowledged for its compelling narrative, the club members expressed a desire for more contextual background, especially regarding the school management details. Despite the lack of extensive information, the resilience of the three girls, aided by their survival skills and support from settlers and fellow Aboriginals, painted a vivid picture of their journey back home. The book underscored the pervasive pattern of European colonization, showcasing the unyielding urge to ‘civilize’ non-white communities worldwide.

Looking ahead, the club anticipates their next literary venture, Naomi Hirahara's “Evergreen,” scheduled for discussion on Sunday, October 29th, via Zoom. The club plans to dedicate the following months to William Kent Krueger’s “This Tender Land,” acknowledging its length and complexity. In an exciting update, the club welcomed a new member, Lillian, who joined their ranks after learning about the club at the Minister’s Lay Assistant Retreat.

In the spirit of democratic reading, the club encouraged members to nominate books for their future reading list, fostering a diverse literary journey that continues to enlighten and provoke thoughtful discourse among its members.

With intellectual fervor and a thirst for knowledge, the Buddha Reads Book Club marches forward, delving into the depths of literature, one book at a time.

Stay tuned for more enlightening discussions from the Buddha Reads Book Clu

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