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Ngilpirr Spider Snell

Name: Ngilpirr Spider Snell

Ngilpirr Spider Snell - Kurtal story and Kinki [ORAL HISTORY]


Synopsis: Spider tells the story of Kurtal, where he came from and his journey during Jukurrpa (Dreaming). Spider then tells his own story, about being left at Kurtal,and being one of his lightnings. His mother found him there as a snake and that is where he was born. He grew up there and would go hunting. He brother drank from the water at Kurtal and was grabbed by the snake and pulled into the water, he let him go. Kurtal is quiet now, Spider is the only one looking after him now. He went from Kurtal to Billiluna, where he was initiated and he finished law at Wangkatjungka.He married Dolly when they were young and they still live with each other. Finally Spider tells the Kinki story.

Date: 11/16/2007
Art centre(s):
Language spoken: Wangkajunga, Walmajarri
Catalogue number: CSROH_52_Ngilpirr_Spider_Snell
Interviewed By: John Carty
Translated By: Putuparri Tom Lawford
Location Described: Kurtal
Location Recorded: Fitzroy Crossing
Latitude/Longitude: -18.17/125.59

Cultural Protocols: PUBLIC ACCESS - RESTRICTIONS ON USE
Access: PUBLIC
Full transcript:
I am jila. I will tell you about jila, I’m talking about Kurtal jila [ancestral being, and spring]. Rain came, a big one, in the early days. It rained for a while, a big rain. After the rain, grasses started to grow. That was him, the grass that began to grow, purrun purrun [grass] we call it. From the grass he turned into a man. Kurtal turned into a man from the grass, purrun purrun. From all that grass he grew into a man. From there he sent a kutukutu [rain-bearing cloud] but it came back. He sent it again, it still came back. He sent it again, this time north, it still came back, that cloud kutukutu. To the east he sent another cloud [kutukutu]. This time it didn’t come back. The cloud went into his own Country, Kurtal, and it went into the waterhole. From a grass he became a man. From there he said, ‘Kurtal wanyjurla wanyjurla’ [He’s singing here: Kurtal, where are you?] He called himself Kurtal. Kurtal is big. He is very big. From there he went to a place called Japingka. Japingka is another jila [ancestral being, and spring] too; Japingka gave him some sacred objects.

From there he went off again past Karlijita [St. George Ranges]. He came to a place call Mangunampi, [a place near Yakanarra] another jila [ancestral being]. He was there with that jila for a while. From there he took off again heading towards Broome, he been travel there. He arrived at Broome and had a rest there for a while. After hanging around at Broome he took off again, heading up the coast. He arrived at another jila called Jintirripil [somewhere near One Arm Point]. He stayed with Jintirripil for a while there. Jintirripil told Kurtal to stay with him near the sea. Kurtal tricked him saying, ‘Yes, I’ll stay with you’.

Jintirripil then told Kurtal to look for anther jila [ancestral being] call Paliyarra [near Nookanbah] because Paliyarra stole sacred objects that belonged to him and he wanted them back. Kurtal set off to find Paliyarra. After finding Paliyarra he went hunting, killing bush animals and cooking them up. He gave them to Paliyarra. Paliyarra knew what he was there for: to steal back the sacred objects he stole from Jintirripil. From there he told Kurtal, tricking him, ‘I haven’t got what you came here looking for.’ [Singing:] ‘Ngajirta Pa Mintirr Mintirr.’ He told him he got nothing. Kurtal could see through him, he could see lighting flashing inside him all that time he was telling him, ‘I can’t give you anything.’ From there he set his dogs onto Kurtal. They bit him all over. He ran around Paliyarra with the dogs after him, tripping him over. They both fell down, Paliyarra spilling the stolen objects onto the ground. Kurtal kicked them objects towards his home, into his waterhole, all them objects they used to make rain with, the same objects we still make rain with, but I am only one left now. I don’t know how I got to do it now, maybe with my grandsons.
With the dogs still chasing him he took off running, heading north to a place called Pinykurrngu [don’t know where this place]. On top of a hill he had a rest for while there, away from the dogs because he was bitten. After that he went to another waterhole called Kunjurrpung [not far from Ngumpan]. He had a look around to see if he had any objects with him for Kurtal to steal but he had none. After talking to that jila he went on his way. He came to another jila [Spider doesn’t know the name of this one], they sat down and had a chat. Kurtal went hunting for that jila. That’s what they did in the Dreamtime, to kill feed for another person. We still do that today but in the law way. After having a feed that other jila told him the same thing: he got nothing, no objects. [Singing:] ‘Ngajirta Pa Mintirr Mintirr’. He could look through him and seen lightning flashing inside him. Kurtal then made willy willies [whirlwinds] come up around them then. They all became one big willy willy and it covered them both with dust. They couldn’t see. The other jila didn’t know what was going on. With fright he dropped his objects on the ground. Kurtal kicked them towards his Country, Kurtal. Into the waterhole, they went. Yuwa [yes].

Kurtal took off again, this time north. He came to a hill and had a rest there on top, looking around where he’s going to steal the next stuff from. He climbed down and went to a place called Kilalaparri [at Christmas Creek]. He sat down there with that jila [ancestral being] and then all this little men, Murungkurr, came out of the ground and started attacking him. He was killing them with his lightning. Off he went again to another jila [Spider doesn’t know this one either]. This time he stole everything from him, all the rain-making stuff. He took them all with him till he came to Kaningarra. That jila Kaningarra was waiting for him. Kurtal and Kaningarra are yalpurru [were born at the same time]. They’re mates. Kaningarra told Kurtal, ‘Let’s lay down here then we can be together.’ Kurtal, tricking him, said, ‘You lie down over there and I’ll lay down here.’ Kaningarra then went into the ground and turned into a snake, kalpurtu [rainbow serpent], and today that waterhole Kaningarra is still there. Kurtal kept on going, carrying all them stolen objects in a coolamon to his Country. He was slowly getting weak. He fell down on one knee and that place we call it Tujulu. He then started to crawl towards his waterhole. He crawled inside with all his stolen objects for good. He went inside and turned into a snake, and he is there today, at his home, Kurtal. That’s the song ‘Kurtal wanyjurla wanyjurla’ we sing. That’s Kurtal, that’s where he went inside for good. He sent up a kutukutu [rain-bearing clouds] like the ones I made at the water hole. He his still there, even to this day.

[Now Spider is telling his story.]

I am from there. That’s where Kurtal left me. He left me and my wife Dolly [Snell], and her brothers and Mosquito, Johnny Mosquito, my brother. Kurtal put them there. And Wiyli Wiyli, my son [Richard Tax]. He put everybody there, that Kurtal. Kurtal left me further up north. I am one of his lightnings.

There was a big storm, lighting everywhere, big rain. From that place my parents found me. I was a snake, a water snake. My mother saw me and was coming up to me, creeping me up, I saw her coming and laid down for her. She hit me, killing me and she pulled me out of the ground from my ribs. She then lit a fire to cook me. She covered me in hot coals and ash. Then all of a sudden there was water where she had me cooking. Water and a tiny snake. She then threw that tiny snake away saying, ‘What happened to that big snake I had cooking here? Did it turn into water too?’ Then I was born right there at Kurtal. That little snake was my Dreaming. I was a kid at Kurtal. My mother and father went hunting sometimes for two or three days or more. I was there alone, and at night I would say, ‘Kurtal, look after me. I am alone, my parents haven’t came back yet. Can you look after me?’

In the mornings I would get up, go hunting. I was a good hunter when I was a kid, killing all kinds of animals in the desert. I used to cook them near the waterhole, chucking bones in the water. I was a good child when I was a kid, looking after my own self, and then my parents would return. Kurtal is cheeky. He doesn’t let any animals drink water. He’ll swallow them up. One time me and my brother went to have a drink. I drank first, then him. Next thing he went into the water! That snake grabbed him! I was scared. I ran to tell the old men who were sitting under a tree, calling out, ‘There’s a kid in the water! That snake got him! He swallowed him! Come and get him out!’ They all got up carrying axes with them. They ran to the waterhole saying, ‘Let him go or we will chop you up!’ From there Kurtal let him out alive. He kept him inside there for a while then spewed him out. He’s my brother. He was okay. Then they picked him up and took him to a shady tree. He’s a cheeky bugger. He don’t let anything drink water, that Kurtal, man, wanya [featherfoot/sorcerer], devil, anything. He’ll just chuck you in the water and swallow you up. Cheeky bugger.

Today he’s finished now. Nothing now. He’s quiet. He’s got no people left now, all his mob all gone. I am the only one visiting and looking after him now. Everybody all passed away now, all the old people that belong to Kurtal. Wilyi Wilyi Mosquito, my brother who died in Adelaide, the whole lot, all finished now. He’s only seeing me now, looking after him. Only one. Today Kurtal is full of water. Everywhere, it’s flooded. We went there recently. I had a swim there.

I haven’t got that story for Kinki and I never seen camels in the Stock Route. I went from Kurtal to Billiluna. I was initiated at Billiluna. I stayed there for a while finishing my law, the law that belongs to them old people. Then I went to Wangkatjungka, then I finished everything there. They told me, ‘You’ve finished your law now. You are a law man.’ I was a young fella then. I didn’t have a wife then. Because I’ve finished my law, my lamparr and yumari [father in law and mother in law] gave me Jukuja [Dolly Snell] as my wife. They gave Jukuja to me when she was a young girl. We lived together until we got old, still today. I had no trouble. We lived a good life.
I know about a white man who got killed at Natawalu [Well 40] and there’s another two that got killed at Lampu [Well 49]. One, he’s buried there. That kartiya [white man] shot that other kartiya. We were all bushmen then when that two kartiya killed each other. There’s a grave for one of them at Lampu. That fella at Natawalu speared that kartiya and then that kartiya shot him with a 44 maybe.

[Kinki story]

Little story I’ll tell you: Old man kartiya [white man] came. I don’t [know] where he came from, they shot and killed old man Kinki, and his daughter as well. They salted them and gave them to us at Jikarn [Well 50]. We thought it was goat meat. They killed them. We ate him. That old fella. My old man (that’s what I called him: father). We had a good feed. We didn’t know it was a human. We boiled some in a billycan. All that time we were thinking it was goat meat. We all ate them. Nothing was left. We thought it was goat we were eating but it was old man Kinki, poor fella. It wasn’t good meat. It had no fat and it tasted horrible. But we still ate it. They killed him and his daughter at Kaningarra. They cut them up and salted them. We ate my old man and my sister. We ate em all up. Finished. Wali [that’s all].

END
Source: CSROH_52_Ngilpirr_Spider_Snell

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.

Ngilpirr Spider Snell

Ngilpirr Spider Snell - women drovers [ORAL HISTORY]
Synopsis: Ngilpirr Spider Snell talks about how all the women were drovers on the Canning Stock Route.

Date: 2007
Art centre(s): Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency
Language spoken: Kriol
Catalogue number: CSROH_232_Ngilpirr_Spider_Snell
Date: 2007
Transcribed By: Karen Dayman
Location Recorded: Fitzroy Crossing
Latitude/Longitude: -18.17/125.59

Cultural Protocols: Public Access - Restrictions on Use
Access: Public
Notes: These are notes taken from a group discussion at Mangkaja, this is not a transcript of consecutive dialogue rather small notes from different parts of the one group conversation. The text in square brackets contextualises the quotes from the artists.
Full transcript: Ngilpirr Spider Snell: I’ve only been as far as Kulyayi. My brother went all the way to Wiluna but me, only half way. Me, I been only go half way, to Kulyayi and back, come back from half way. Too many bullock. Ngapa, jila [ancestral being, soak]. Jila that one, jila.

All the women were drover men on canning stock road, my sister. I been lose em all the women droving men. They had their own husbands. Wally Dowling used to get all the old people from Billiluna, old Billiluna, husbands and wives. Stockmen properly women. They been get buluman [bullock] too. Kakaliya [see Nyuju Stumpy Brown’s story] stockman as well.

END
Source: CSROH_232_Ngilpirr_Spider_Snell
Rights: Cultural Owner & Storyteller: Ngilpirr Spider Snell; © 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.

Jukuja Dolly Snell, Ngilpirr Spider Snell, Purlta Maryanne Downs, Manmarr Daisy Andrews, Amy Nuggett

Jukuja Dolly Snell, Ngilpirr Spider Snell, Purlta Maryanne Downs, Manmarr Daisy Andrews, Amy Nuggett - conversation notes [ORAL HISTORY]
Synopsis: These are notes taken from a conversation at Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency between Jukuja Dolly Snell, Ngilpirr Spider Snell, Purlta Maryanne Downs, Manmarr Daisy Andrews, and Amy Nuggett.

Date: 2009-11
Art centre(s): Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency
Language spoken: Kriol, English
Catalogue number: CSROH_239_Mangkaja_Group_Discussion
Date: 2009-11
Transcribed By: Monique La Fontaine
Location Recorded: Fitzroy Crossing
Latitude/Longitude: -18.17/125.59

Cultural Protocols: Public Access - Restrictions on Use
Access: Public
Full transcript: Group: [About drovers] Jinamungkurr, Spider’s sister, and Wakajiya were cookies [cooks] on the stock route.

Daisy Andrews: [On drover Tommy Bull, Mapariny Alan Dededar’s father] He was a good fuckin’ rider that old man!

Dolly Snell: [What the whitefellas used to say to old people who would work as drovers] You go get ‘em boot and whip — you goin’ Wiluna now!

Group: Mervyn Street was working in Wiluna. Raymond went with Carl Stein, station manager for Carnegie, down to Wiluna. He took most of his workers from Louisa Downs to Carnegie. Mervyn’s Gooniyandi brother went to Wiluna, kilaki side [on his paternal grandfather’s side] might be.

Hitler [Pamba – Nyuju Stumpy Brown’s second husband] was working Wiluna same time as Mervyn.

Purlta [Maryanne Downs] and Jarinyanu [David Downs] worked around Carnegie with Ben Taylor.

Amy Nugget – [Amy is mother for Rosie Williams and Dulcie Gibbs. Jakayu Biljabu is Amy’s daughter in law.]

Dolly Snell: We been sing that Minyipuru [Seven Sisters] song everywhere, long time, Wangkatjungka.

Spider Snell: Jarinyanu been puluman [bullock] drovin’. [Tommy] Bull, Jarinyanu [David Downs], Jamili [Chum Lee] – all working together Carnegie [Station].

[Spider and Jarinyanu mother’s name was Intiya.]

Maryanne Downs: My husband been grow ‘em up me from kid.

END
Source: CSROH_239_Mangkaja_Group_Discussion
Rights: Cultural Owner & Storyteller: Jukuja Dolly Snell, Ngilpirr Spider Snell, Purlta Maryanne Downs, Manmarr Daisy Andrews, Amy Nuggett; © 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.

Name: Jukuja Nora Tjookootja, Ngilpirr Spider Snell, Jukuja Dolly Snell, Manmarr Daisy Andrews, Milkujung Jewess James

Kaningarra Jila - Recording and story of song for Kaningarra [ORAL HISTORY]

Other Speaker/s: Joy Nuggett

Synopsis: Kaningarra jla: a recording of ceremonial song for the living water that became Well 48 on the CSR and the explanation of the song's meaning

Date: 2009-04-01
Art centre(s):
Language spoken: Walmajarri, Wangkajunga
Catalogue number: CSROH_173_Kaningarra_Song
Interviewed By: Monique La Fontaine
Translated By: Putuparri Tom Lawford, Joy Nuggett, Monique La Fontaine
Location Recorded: Ngumpan
Latitude/Longitude: -18.76/126.03

Cultural Protocols: Public Access - Restrictions on Use
Access: Public
Notes: This contains the transcript of the Kaningarra song in language and then translated with commentary from the singers. The verses are numbered to correlate to the later translation. There are additional notes included at the end of this transcript which were added when the permission was gathered in November 2009.
Full transcript: [Sung in old Wamaljarri by: Jukuja Nora Tjookootja, Ngilpirr Spider Snell, Jukuja Dolly Snell, Manmarr Daisy Andrews, Milkujung Jewess James]

1. Kaningarra marna layalaya marna nyinyi [ or nyi] kurlila marna jirrimpil karrinyana.

2. Nganangu paja wurna wurna pungany nyi [or nyinyi] wirliti marna jarrkarra wantinya na.

[Dancing]

3. Yankurr karrila kankarra pajila piply pipily marna nyi [or nyinyi] ngaliwirri pa yankurr karrila.

4. Yayaya marla kankarra pajala pipyl pipyl marna nyi [or nyinyi] ngaliwirri pa.

5. Nyimarr pa karrila kayili karla nyimarr pa marna nyi [or nyinyi] kayili karla.

[Dancing]

6. Kayili marna marnkiti kangany nyi [or nyinyi] kayili marna jangala wurru.

[Dancing]

[These verses are repeated over and over.]

[Note: Verses numbered, with commentary of singers in between. Some of the verses contain elements of the story described by the singers and are not direct translations of the song.]

Nora Tjookootja: This is my husband [Donkeyman Benny – boss of Kaningarra, Spider’s brother] song and story.

Spider Snell: Kaningarra is for him, my brother.

NT: That’s their Country, that boy Pampirla [Hansen Boxer]. His father this one here. [His father is Daisy’s brother].

1. I am Kaningarra. Standing in my Country, I look to the south.

2. [Direct translation:] What are these things chasing me, making me run around in circles? I’m a maparn [magic man]. I am standing up and falling down.

[Additional:] These devil dogs are frightening me. I hit them with my power.

Daisy Andrews: You know this one dog been chase ‘em.

NT: Jakarra [to Tom Lawford], you know who he was chasing? Julypa, my lamparr [father in law] [Julypa/Kaningarra].

SS: My old man, Julypa, warri warri [from the older generation].

Yeah, he was hitting them [dogs] with his maparn [magic], my old man [Julypa/Kaningarra].

NT: Yeah, my lamparr [father in law]. Dog was chasing him. Something like a kukurr [devil].

SS: Kukurr was chasing him, kunyarr kukurr [devil dog]

DA: Old man, he was being chased.

NT: Yeah, your daddy, the father of Daisy’s mob, my lamparr [father in law].

Jewess James: Long time ago, [in the Dreamtime] you know, not from today.

3. Streaks of lightning are flashing in the distance. A storm is gathering all around. Lightning is flashing on top of the hills like fire, I hide underground. A waterhole forms in the earth.

SS: Like when he flashing up in the sky like fire, that’s that lightning.

NT: Lightning was flashing on top him, my father in law [Julypa/Kaningarra], then he went inside to hide underground. That’s why there’s two water hole there, one on top and one on the bottom. When he went inside that’s that water on the bottom.

4. A storm cloud is raining in the distance but it is coming closer and closer. It will pour on you. Lightning strikes on the hill. Another waterhole is formed from the sky.

SS: When they strike at night it’s like a fire burning. It was striking on top of that old man. That’s that water on the top. It’s for them old people,

DS: Nyapajayi [to Monique], this song bring up big rain.

5. The storm is approaching from the north-west. It brings little bit of rain, sprinkling lightly like a mist.

SS: To the west he’s standing in the salt water in the sea.

JJ: He was standing on his own one leg, on his knee, holding his spear, looking at the rain. That rain he can’t come, it belongs to there, it stays one place.

6. In the north, a Jangala man is standing on one leg in the sea, looking out. He is painted up, carrying a spear and a boomerang. He drinks rainwater. He dances back and forth and brings the song from the north.

JJ: After standing all day looking at the rain he started dancing towards it, having a drink of that water, and dancing back. Back and forth.

[Further note added from November 2009 permissions trip:]

Joy Nuggett: All of these songs come together at Kaningarra …

[Additional information given November 2009 permissions trip:]

Kaningarra is a major rain-making site. In addition to the main song for Kaningarra jila, a number of other rain-making songs, like the one below, converge at this site [Kaningarra]:

Kitil and wiyirr birds migrate towards the storm, bringing the rain.

Puddles form, little streams run on the ground. People walk through pools of water.

Rain makes the waters run like a river. Foaming up, the waters meet and flood.

END


Source: CSROH_173_Kaningarra_Song
Rights: Cultural Owner & Storyteller: Jukuja Nora Tjookootja, Ngilpirr Spider Snell, Jukuja Dolly Snell, Manmarr Daisy Andrews, Milkujung Jewess James; © 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.

Bush Tucker

Artist(s): Ngilpirr Spider Snell

Date created: 2007
Art Centre(s): Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency
Size: 119.5x89.5
Medium: acrylic on canvas

Artwork Story: Spider Snell is the brother of Jarinyanu David Downs and the ceremonial boss for Kurtal.

I am jila. I am one of his lightnings. I was a good hunter when I was a kid, killing all kinds of animals. I used to cook them and chuck bones in the waterhole. I was a good kid, looking after my own self. My mother and father went hunting sometimes for two days or more. At night I would say, ‘Kurtal, I’m alone, my parents haven’t came back yet. Can you look after me?’

Place of creation: Mangkaja
Latitude/Longitude: -18.17/125.59

Artwork copyright: ©2013 Ngilpirr Spider Snell
Catalogue ID: SS/146/MJ
Protocols: Public Access - Restrictions on use

Photographer: Jason McCarthy
Photograph date: 2009-05-22
Photography copyright: National Museum of Australia
Format: Image
Category: Artwork

Artist(s) biography:
born about 1925
Wangkajunga language group
Jangkarti skin group
Fitzroy Crossing
Mangkaja Arts
"[I am jila. I am one of his lightnings.

Ngilpirr is the senior custodian of the Kurtal jila and its songs and dances; he has performed and exhibited both nationally and internationally. Like many other desert people with strong ancestral ties to Country, he sees himself as inseparable from the place that gives him his power. As one of Kurtal’s lightning bolts, he passes on this power, and his knowledge of jila law, to his grandsons.

Accession ID: 20131014_FORM_MIRA_B0045_0024

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.

Ngilpirr Spider Snell

Born: about 1925

Language Group(s): Wangkajunga
Community: Fitzroy Crossing
Art Centre(s): Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency
CSR Project role: Artist, contributor
Skin Group: Jangkarti
Totem: Water snake
Country: Kurtal

Biography: I am jila. I am one of his lightnings. Ngilpirr is the senior custodian of the Kurtal jila and its songs and dances; he has performed and exhibited both nationally and internationally. Like many other desert people with strong ancestral ties to Country, he sees himself as inseparable from the place that gives him his power. As one of Kurtal’s lightning bolts, he passes on this power, and his knowledge of jila law, to his grandsons.

Photographer: Tim Acker
Photograph date: 2009
Photography copyright: © FORM
Format: Image
Source: Images - Catalogue
Category: People
Accession ID: 20131016_FORM_MIRA_B0090_0017

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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