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Curtis Taylor

Content Approvals

Event Description: Throughout the Canning Stock Route Project art centres, artists and contributors have been directly involved in the project’s development and the delivery of its final outcomes. As content was being finalised for Yiwarra Kuju: The Canning Stock Route at the National Museum of Australia, content approval workshops were undertaken in 17 communities to ensure that artists and elders were satisfied with the accuracy and cultural appropriateness of its content. These visits engaged contributing artists with the layout, content and presentation of the final exhibition, multimedia and publications. Important decisions were made during these approvals, which allowed the project team to adjust and finalise content that would not only be presented to national audiences but would become a legacy for communities into the future.

People: Michelle Taylor

Art Centre(s): CSR Project

Rights: Photo by Tim Acker

Provenance: This material is sourced from Ngurra Kuju Walyja — the Canning Stock Route Project, which was initiated in 2006 by FORM and developed in partnership with Birriliburu, Kayili, Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre, Mangkaja, Martumili, Ngurra, Papunya Tula, Paruku IPA, Warlayirti and Yulparija artists and art centres.

Curtis Taylor

Curtis Taylor - Country and Jukurrpa [ORAL HISTORY]
Synopsis: Curtis Taylor talks about home, Country, and Jukurrpa. He also talks about how the Canning Stock Route Project is important because it will tell Martu stories and history.

Date: 2009-10
Art centre(s): CSR Project, Martumili Artists
Language spoken: English
Catalogue number: CSROH_208_Curtis_Taylor
Date: 2009-10
Location Recorded: Parnngurr
Latitude/Longitude: -20.492731/118.537344

Cultural Protocols: Public Access
Access: Public
Full transcript: Carly Davenport: Can you tell me a little bit about where we are?

Curtis Taylor: We are on top of Parngurr hill and yeah.

CD: Mention which town it is.

CT: Parngurr, straight down this here hill, where on top of the hill ... sitting down waiting for the sun to go down.

CD: Can you tell me a little bit about the story of this hill, the history?

CT: Yes I’ll tell you a little bit.

In the 70s - 80s CRA – now known as Rio Tinto, tried to mine this hill, but the Martus saw what was happening. So they build a bus and started moving out from Jigalong, that’s the town, and then they tried to stop the mining company, and more and more Martu came out, started helping with the fight. Then Canning Resources – CRA – they flew around with their choppers, with their blades trying to scare the people. But the people were really hard back then, they didn’t take nothing from anybody. And as more and more Martu came out from Jigalong and helped and ... one night they had their camp on the other side of the hill here, and the wind was blowing hard at night time, and one old fella, he finished now, passed away. Went over that way and light a big fire, and the wind blowing the fire blow it toward the hill here, toward their camp. So they saw the fire coming, then they packed up really quick, then they left. They didn’t come back then, those miners didn’t come back , that’s why we came out here, that’s how Parnngurr was settled by the Martu people, because of the mining, we said no, we don’t want any mining.

CD: So this is how the town was settled in the first place?

CT: Yeah.

CD: There wasn’t anything here before Rio Tinto tried to come in?

CT: Yeah there wasn’t anything here before, just the Country, everyone was in the mission in Jigalong. And that’s one of the time self-determination for Aboriginal people started all around Australia, not just here. That’s the story about how the people came out of Jigalong mission, they wanted to come back to their home land, their Ngurra. They went and started up Punmu first. And from Punmu they started up Parngurrr, and then they started up Kunawarritji. And every community they started, first building it was the school, school was the first building.

CD: And which of these communities do you live in?

CT: I live in Parngurr, Parngurr community, white people call it Cotton Creek.

CD: And are you Martu?

CT: I am a Martu, my old people are Martu, and my grandfather is Martu, my grandmother. My grandmother passed away in Bidyadanga, she was from the Country around [XX - ?]. Country around [XX - ?] Country, around Percival lakes. She was one of the mob that went up north to [XX - ?]. She walked up that way. That’s why ... I grew up in Bidyadanga. But that’s not my home, my home is here in the desert where my old people came from.

CD: And how do you feel that? Is it strong?

CT: I feel that really strong, because no matter where I go, I’ve got somewhere to go back to, somewhere where I feel safe, and where I know I got a place in the community, in the Country, a place for me, where I can feel like, I feel like I’m home, you know. Safe yeah.

CD: Yeah because you know kartiya [white people] they live all over the place, they like to move around, do you think they don’t know what home is?

CT: Yeah they don’t know the sense of ...

CD: I mean can you just explain to them a little bit how you feel and you think about home?

CT: When I feel like home ... first one is like home is like your house, but home to us is like our Country, where our people come from, you know, where our tribal Country is, that’s home to us, so no matter where we go we’ll always come back to that tribal Country. Where old people used to walk around and used to hunt. That’s another way of home you know, and wherever you go you’ll always come back and you’ll always have a sense of belonging in that place. Even if a Martu person come from ... he was born in one little tree in the desert somewhere. And he went up north – first time he seen white fellas – and he went up north or south or east or west and lived on someone else’s Country but you know, he was longing for his Country and wanted to go back but he couldn’t because he might of passed away or he got sick and he had to live on someone else’s land. But after he passed away he’ll always go back to his home, in his spirit – he’ll fly back to his home, even if he die, that’s what we believe, that he’ll go back to his home, fly back and become part of his home if he die, and go back to the water or to the plants.

CD: It sounds like you’re part of the Country and the Country is part of you – not two separate things

CT: No, not two separate – it’s the same. Because before we come to ... we come out through the Country we come out through the dreams. Come out through the Country. And then we live and when we die we come part of the Country you know. That’s what we believe – when we die, we become one with the Country, our spirit goes back. They born and they give you a totem, it might be a bush turkey, a kangaroo or ... a sand goanna or something you know. When you die you’ll turn into that animal, you’ll go back into that animal, your totem, you’ll turn back into that animal.

CD: Didn’t know that’s what it meant for you ... uh oh they’re coming.

CT: Mmm.

CD: Now is there anything you’d like to say that you’d like to tell the audiences when they come and see the Canning Sto ... when they come and see your Country?

CT: The exhibition, first thing I’d like to say is that – the stock route or part of the stock route really it’s not part of my Country – ‘cause that’s where my grandfather or their grandfather, they did walk that Country, they walked there but they didn’t belong to that Country really, so I’m not from that Country. But, when you come and see this Stock Route exhibition, first we’d like to give you a chance to just listen, and come and see – that’s all. Yeah just listen to the stories, hear the songs. See how the Country is, because it’s not empty. There’s a lot of Jukurrpa, a lot of water out here, a lot of animals, a lot of bush tucker. It’s not just empty.

CD: Can you explain what Jukurrpa is to people who don’t understand? Particularly young people, you know your age they don’t know what Jukurrpa is.

CT: Jukurrpa is stories, knowledge, songs, dance, lifestyle, culture. That’s what Jukurrpa is. I’m talkin’ about the world.

CD: So as a young person you’ve got your old people’s Jukurrpa, is there more Jukurrpa coming up? How’s it going to change, is it going to change or will it always be the same?

CT: It will always be the same, in the world that we can’t see but we can sing. And that will always be the same, like what we practice every year. That will be the same. But I hope we’re making our mark today, it becomes our own history, like us today as humans beings. Because Jukurrpa is, there are two kinds of Jukurrpa – one from the spirit how this world was created, how this Country was created, that one that will never change, that will always be the same, that’s the one we practice every Christmas, every when it gets hot around the desert you know, and that will never change – thats Yulurlbidii [?], how it was and how it always will be.

CD: What’s the other one? You said there were two.

CT: The second one (Jukurrpa) is like our history, but what we trying to make today, you know, ‘cause we’ll be finished, we’ll be gone from this place and hope that we made our mark, make our own history.

CD: As young people you mean, as the new ... ?

CT: Yeah. As humans, as humans, not as spirits, young people, old people that are alive today.

CD: It’s pretty exciting time now do you think? Because you know with Native Title you have got your Country back after 200 years of things not going so well, do you think it’s changing?

CT: It’s changing. It’ll never be the same, it’ll change every day. And that’s why I think Martu are all frightened of yuningba [tomorrow]. We can’t see ... and we don’t know what tomorrow is waiting for us, we don’t know that ... what tomorrow is ... only we know, like the past … we know what happened in the past but tomorrow we don’t know what’s going to happen ... so Martu people, we’re living in the now time, present ... we don’t know what tomorrow is gonna bring, might be good, might be bad ... (nods )... yeah.

Last thing I’d like to say ... this exhibition about the Canning Stock Route is really about the history of Australia. It’s gonna be really big and I don’t know if the Martu are ready for this one. It’s too big for anyone to just grab it ... too big ... and I don’t know if we are ready ... Or if the world is ready ... and I don’t know if australia is ready, but this thing you can’t stop it, it’s gonna happen someday and I am really proud that I am working on this project, because it is history. At the end of the day it will be good when all those people who worked on this project ... and all those people that came to the show really understand and appreciate and say ‘thank you’ for telling us this history or letting us know ... that this story has to be told ... Yo.

END
Video format: DVD/MiniDV/Quicktime movie
Video recording: 100 Martu Approvals, Curtis IV, Oct 09
Source: CSROH_208_Curtis_Taylor
Rights: Cultural Owner & Storyteller: Curtis Taylor; © FORM, transcript only

Provenance: This material is sourced from Ngurra Kuju Walyja — the Canning Stock Route Project, which was initiated in 2006 by FORM and developed in partnership with Birriliburu, Kayili, KALACC, Mangkaja, Martumili, Ngurra, Papunya Tula, Paruku IPA, Warlayirti and Yulparija artists and art centres.

Seven Sisters

Story:The Martu story of the Seven Sisters, or Minyipuru, originates in the Country around Roebourne. When the Minyipuru began travelling east on their long journey they were many more than seven; they began as a big group of ladies, including many sisters and mothers, but at various places on their journey they lost members of their group until eventually only seven sisters remained. The Seven Sisters or Minyipuru are associated with the Pleides star constellation. This is the story of the Seven Sisters as told by Martu women, although in their words, ‘there are other stories for other sides’, as many language groups have other stories and other names for the Seven Sisters. The story of the Seven Sisters is also known around the world and can be found in countries including Japan, Greece, Africa and China. In the Martu version, the Minyipuru were travelling close to Parnngurr where an important event took place in women’s law. From Parnngurr they flew to Kalypa, which is now Well 23. At Kalypa they met up with a large group of Jukurrpa men, the first time that men had ever seen women and women had seen men. The men tried to grab the ladies and the ladies chased them and hit them with their wana (hitting sticks). Then they left, leaving the men lying there. There is a song and dance for this place called Marrkupayi, and both men and women perform parts of the dance. They continued dancing as they travelled to Katarru, now Well 24. And then they flew to Yurungu (on the eastern side of the Canning Stock Route). As they flew from Yurungu, they turned and looked behind them and there was a group of other people, Niminjarra, who were travelling west. The Niminjarra were looking for Nganyangu’s wives, in a place called Pirrkanjil. Nganyangu became the bodyguard for Kumpupirntily [Lake Disappointment], protecting people from Ngayurnangalku, the Jukurrpa cannibal people. The ladies walked to Yurrunguny and Mungurlyi and then they flew to Nyipil, now Well 34, where they heard the sound of Kinyu howling. They heard Wulkartungara [a ladies’ song] and another song called Yaruparrupa. From Nyipil, the Minyipuru flew to Yanjiwarra jurnu where they danced, and near the desert oaks they left the mark of their dancing. The Minyipuru can be seen today as a group of trees between Nyipil and Kunawarritji. The Minyipuru then flew to Pangkapini between Wells 35 and 36, where the man Yurla, who had been following them from Roebourne, finally caught up with them. The ladies watched him sleep, and when he woke up he tried to grab one of them. The other ladies tried to help their sister escape, but they couldn’t free her. The ladies made Yurla collect wood for them and promised that they would stay with him. They teased him saying, ‘Come and get us!’, and he began to sing a man’s song and ran away happy, his heart was beating fast. But the ladies were tricking him and hid from him. They were floating in a long line in mid-air and he ran around trying to find their tracks. Yurla could hear the Seven Sisters giggling and laughing from somewhere above him; when he looked up they were teasing him, so he got a janga, a ladder of wood, and tried to reach them but they just floated higher and pushed the ladder over when he got too close. He finally became tired and fell down, crawling on his stomach. He crawled a long way and then slept, and while he was asleep, the Seven Sisters all flew away. They took off flying to a place next to Lipuru, now Well 37, called Lurrungpungu where eventually Yurla caught up to them again. It was here that he tried to grab five of the ladies. From here the Seven Sisters took off again flying to Lunpu and then Majarral and then on to Marapinti near Kiwirrkurra, where there are rocks sitting up like ladies. The ladies had a feed at Marapinti and then pierced their noses: this is what the word marapinti means. Some of the other places where the Minyipuru stopped on their journey to Marapinti include Wantili claypan (near Well 25) and Tiwa, (Well 26). From there the ladies flew on to Juntujuntu, (Well 30). Kukulyurr is a permanent water where the Minyipuru sat down to rest before travelling onwards. They also rested at Juntiwa [going west, towards Telfer] and at Pangkaringka and Karlajaru. They landed at Juntiwa when they were coming from Pangkaringka, and they also stopped at Natawalu before continuing on their journey. They also stopped to rest at Kukulurrpa and Jarnu warla (a lake).

Media Creator:Curtis Taylor

Media date: 2010

Media Description:Parnngurr Nyiru tells the story of the Minyipuru or Seven Sisters who travelled through Parnngurr in the Dreamtime, followed by the man Nyiru (also known as Yurla), who had been pursuing them from Roebourne.

Story contributor(s):Mantararr Rosie Williams, Mulyatingki Marney, Jakayu Biljabu, Ngalangka Nola Taylor, Morika Biljabu

Art Centre(s): Martumili Artists
Publisher: FORM
Media copyright: Curtis Taylor
Accession ID:DATE_FORM_MIRA_B0098_0003

This material is sourced from Ngurra Kuju Walyja — the Canning Stock Route Project, which was initiated in 2006 by FORM and developed in partnership with Birriliburu, Kayili, KALACC, Mangkaja, Martumili, Ngurra, Papunya Tula, Paruku IPA, Warlayirti and Yulparija artists and art centres.

Wirnpa

Story:Wirnpa the proper boss. Rich. Too many money. Kartiya [white people] can’t get that. We got snake, jila. Can’t touch.' (Jawarta Donald Moko, 2007) Wirnpa was one of the most powerful of the jila men and the last to travel the desert before entering the jila, which bears his name, becoming a snake. Wirnpa’s adventures are celebrated in songs and stories of many language groups. Today, many of these people worry about proposals to mine the country around Wirnpa. Wirnpa was a rainmaker and the last of the jila men to walk around the desert in the Jukurrpa (the Dreamtime). After travelling far from his home, Wirnpa came back to search for his many children only to discover that they had already died. They had laid down and turned into the waterholes of the Percival Lakes. Wirnpa wept for his children and then turned into a snake and entered the waterhole that bears his name. Aboriginal people from language groups across the Western Desert know Wirnpa jila, even if they’ve never been there. The jila lies in Yulparija Country, but as a man Wirnpa travelled such great distances that the songlines which describe his journeys connect him to many groups. As an ancestral hero, Wirnpa is the keeper of different laws and ceremonies, and Aboriginal people from multiple language groups consider the place where he rests a sacred site. Jila like Wirnpa are formidable places, which can be dangerous if they are not approached properly. Aboriginal people enter jila sites ritually, sweeping the ground with branches, and approaching in single file. Elders call out to Wirnpa, announcing their arrival and introducing people who are new to the jila. For many senior people the experience of returning to their Country is highly emotional. 'Jila might make kartiya sick, make a big wind. We been tell him, “Don’t get wild, we all one family for you.”' (Jawarta Donald Moko, 2009) When the people who belonged to Wirnpa left the desert, some went north and eventually settled at Balgo, Mulan, Fitzroy Crossing, Wangkatjungka, Looma, Broome and Bidyadanga. Others went south and settled at Jigalong, Newman, Punmu, Parnngurr and Kunawarritji. Others still went east to Yuendumu and Papunya. Until recently, some of these people had never had the chance to return to their Country but today many people are taking their children and grandchildren to see Wirnpa for the first time. The songlines that pass through Wirnpa travel underground, imbuing the Country with power. The responsibility for these songs, and for the Country itself, is passed down from one generation to the next. Aboriginal people belong to the Country and are its caretakers; when they die, their spirit returns to their Country.

Media Creator:Curtis Taylor

Media date: 2010
Story Location: Wirnpa

Media Description:Martu elders bring their grandchildren to Wirnpa for the first time in 2009.

Story contributor(s):Jawarta Donald Moko, Monique La Fontaine

Art Centre(s): Yulparija Artists, Martumili Artists
Publisher: FORM
Media copyright: FORM
Accession ID:DATE_FORM_MIRA_B0098_0002

This material is sourced from Ngurra Kuju Walyja — the Canning Stock Route Project, which was initiated in 2006 by FORM and developed in partnership with Birriliburu, Kayili, KALACC, Mangkaja, Martumili, Ngurra, Papunya Tula, Paruku IPA, Warlayirti and Yulparija artists and art centres.

Video Title: Parnngurr Nyiru

Video Description: Parnngurr Nyiru tells the story of the Minyipuru or Seven Sisters who travelled through Parnngurr in the Dreamtime, followed by the man Nyiru, who had been pursuing them from Roebourne. Curtis Taylor’s short films about his home community of Parnngurr describe the return of Martu people to their homelands, and the stories of the Country from its origin in the Dreamtime.

Date created: 2010
Art Centre(s): Martumili Artists, CSR Project

Director: Curtis Taylor
Editor: Brandt Lee, Curtis Taylor
Camera: Curtis Taylor, Dave Wells
Narrator: Kumpaya Girgiba
Translator: Curtis Taylor
Executive Producer: FORM

Rights: © Curtis Taylor, 2010
Clip length: 0:01:05
Protocols: PUBLIC ACCESS
Format: Video
Source: Screen 4 Video
Category: Video
Accession ID: 20130920_FORM_MIRA_B0023_0004

Provenance: This material is sourced from Ngurra Kuju Walyja — the Canning Stock Route Project, which was initiated in 2006 by FORM and developed in partnership with Birriliburu, Kayili, KALACC, Mangkaja, Martumili, Ngurra, Papunya Tula, Paruku IPA, Warlayirti and Yulparija artists and art centres.

Video Title: Parnngurr Puntukurnu Parna

Video Description: Parnngurr Puntukurnu Parna tells the story of Martu people’s fight for native title and of their inseparable ties to Country. Curtis Taylor’s short films about his home community of Parnngurr describe the return of Martu people to their homelands, and the stories of the Country from its origin in the Dreamtime.

Date created: 2010
Art Centre(s): Martumili Artists, CSR Project

Director: Curtis Taylor
Editor: Brandt Lee, Curtis Taylor
Narrator: Curtis Taylor
Translator: Curtis Taylor
Executive Producer: FORM

Rights: © Curtis Taylor, 2010
Clip length: 0:02:22
Protocols: PUBLIC ACCESS
Format: Video
Source: EMERGING FILMMAKERS MASTERS/Curtis Taylor
Category: Video
Accession ID: 20131021_FORM_MIRA_B0054_0003

Provenance: This material is sourced from Ngurra Kuju Walyja — the Canning Stock Route Project, which was initiated in 2006 by FORM and developed in partnership with Birriliburu, Kayili, KALACC, Mangkaja, Martumili, Ngurra, Papunya Tula, Paruku IPA, Warlayirti and Yulparija artists and art centres.

Wirnpa


Place description: Wirnpa was one of the most powerful of the jila men and the last to travel the desert before entering the jila, which bears his name, becoming a snake. Wirnpa’s adventures are celebrated in songs and stories of many language groups. Today, many of these people worry about proposals to mine the country around Wirnpa.

Wirnpa was a rainmaker and the last of the jila men to walk around the desert in the Jukurrpa (the Dreamtime). After travelling far from his home, Wirnpa came back to search for his many children only to discover that they had already died. They had laid down and turned into the waterholes of the Percival Lakes. Wirnpa wept for his children and then turned into a snake and entered the waterhole that bears his name.

Aboriginal people from language groups across the Western Desert know Wirnpa jila, even if they’ve never been there. The jila lies in Yulparija Country, but as a man Wirnpa travelled such great distances that the songlines which describe his journeys connect him to many groups. As an ancestral hero, Wirnpa is the keeper of different laws and ceremonies, and Aboriginal people from multiple language groups consider the place where he rests a sacred site.

Jila like Wirnpa are formidable places, which can be dangerous if they are not approached properly. Aboriginal people enter jila sites ritually, sweeping the ground with branches, and approaching in single file. Elders call out to Wirnpa, announcing their arrival and introducing people who are new to the jila. For many senior people the experience of returning to their Country is highly emotional.

When the people who belonged to Wirnpa left the desert, some went north and eventually settled at Balgo, Mulan, Fitzroy Crossing, Wangkatjungka, Looma, Broome and Bidyadanga. Others went south and settled at Jigalong, Newman, Punmu, Parnngurr and Kunawaritji. Others still went east to Yuendumu and Papunya. Until recently, some of these people had never had the chance to return to their Country but today many people are taking their children and grandchildren to see Wirnpa for the first time.

The songlines that pass through Wirnpa travel underground, imbuing the Country with power. The responsibility for these songs, and for the Country itself, is passed down from one generation to the next. Aboriginal people belong to the Country and are its caretakers; when they die, their spirit returns to their Country.

Traditional knowledge: Wirnpa the proper boss. Rich. Too many money. Kartiya [white people] can’t get that. We got snake, jila. Can’t touch. (Jawarta Donald Moko, 2007)

Jila [like Wirnpa] might make kartiya sick, make a big wind. We been tell him, “Don’t get wild, we all one family for you.” (Jawarta Donald Moko, 2009)

Related art centre(s): Other

Media title: Greeting Wirnpa
Media creator: Curtis Taylor
Date: 2010

Media description: Martu elders bring their grandchildren to Wirnpa for the first time in 2009
Media Copyright: Curtis Taylor
Format: Video
Accession ID: 20131016_FORM_MIRA_B0089_0006

Provenance: This material is sourced from Ngurra Kuju Walyja — the Canning Stock Route Project, which was initiated in 2006 by FORM and developed in partnership with Birriliburu, Kayili, KALACC, Mangkaja, Martumili, Ngurra, Papunya Tula, Paruku IPA, Warlayirti and Yulparija artists and art centres.

Curtis Taylor

Community: Parnngurr
Art Centre(s): Martumili Artists
CSR Project role: Emerging Aboriginal filmmaker, translator, cultural adviser
Country: Parnngurr

Biography: A keen emerging filmmaker, Curtis works with Martu Media, a program of Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa. Curtis has produced short films that describe the history and culture of Parnngurr (Cotton Creek), his home community in Martu Country, for the project’s multimedia installation One Road. The youngest member of the Canning Stock Route Project team, Curtis is also a valued cultural facilitator and translator for Martu people.

Photographer: Tim Acker
Photograph date: 2009
Photography copyright: © FORM
Format: Image
Source: Images - Catalogue
Category: People
Accession ID: 20131016_FORM_MIRA_B0090_0046

Provenance: This material is sourced from Ngurra Kuju Walyja — the Canning Stock Route Project, which was initiated in 2006 by FORM and developed in partnership with Birriliburu, Kayili, KALACC, Mangkaja, Martumili, Ngurra, Papunya Tula, Paruku IPA, Warlayirti and Yulparija artists and art centres.

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