Lots of Western people know that Australian Aborigines navigate across the deserts by learning a song which contains a sequence of landmarks, and going from one landmark to another. The pathways are sometimes called Songlines, sometimes Dreaming tracks.
This fact is presented as if it were a remarkable and beautiful achievement, but there is less to it than meets the eye.
For a start, this is a terrible way of navigating - because the chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Any mistake at any point will mean that the navigator becomes lost.
Secondly, the idea that this was a special attainment of Aborigines is very recent - specifically it comes from the mid-nineteen seventies.
Lewis, D. 1976. 'Observations on route-finding and spatial orientation... (in) central Australia.' Oceania 46: 249-282.
I have read some detailed book length accounts of Aborigine life from the 1800s which make no mention of this method - probably because it was regarded as of little interest.
Yet, suddenly, in the 1970s - as political correctness began to gather strength - this trivially crude method of navigation was presented as a great achievement. The public relations process was completed by my near namesake - the BS-merchant and darling of the chattering classes Bruce Chatwin, in a grossly hyped book called The Songlines.
Chanting songs to remember stuff is done by children - it is not specific nor distinctive to Aborigines.
The fuss and nonsense made about Songlines seems more like an example of gross Western condescension than an appreciation of 'indigenous peoples'.