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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.

Kurtal

Story:Before Kurtal turned into an ancestral snake being and entered the 'living water' or permanent spring that bears his name, he was a man. In the words of Kurtal boss Ngilpirr Spider Snell: 'A big rain came. After the rain, grasses started to grow. From the grass Kurtal turned into a man.'

'Kurtal travelled to Jintirripil, a jila near the sea, who asked him to stay for good. Tricking him, Kurtal agreed. Jintirripil told Kurtal to find the jila Paliyarra, who had stolen his sacred objects.

'Paliyarra knew that Kurtal had come to steal back Jintirripil’s objects. He told Kurtal he didn’t have them but Kurtal could see the lightning flashing inside him. Paliyarra set his dogs onto Kurtal. Badly bitten, Kurtal tripped over Paliyarra, who spilled the objects on the ground. Kurtal kicked them towards his jila.

'Kurtal stole more objects from other jila, then went to visit his friend Kaningarra. Kaningarra asked Kurtal to stay with him there forever. Tricking him, Kurtal agreed, saying, "You lie down over there and I’ll lay down here.” Kaningarra went into the ground, turning into a snake, and Kurtal took off for his country.

'Getting weak, Kurtal crawled inside his waterhole with all his stolen objects and turned into a snake.

'That’s the song "Kurtal wanyjurla wanyjurla" we sing. He sent up a kutukutu [rain bearing cloud] like the ones I made at Kurtal.'

This is Kurtal's song:

'In the north-west I saw leaping fish sparkling in the sunlight. Carrying the sacred object I wade through the water. The waves carry me down to the depths. In the north-west I saw a seagull. The seagull was speaking. I saw lightning flickering in the north; I was the rain cloud. I am Kurtal. I bring the meat and make the country fruitful. The wind is wild, the lightning flickers in the sky. Up there Kaningarra is crying. The wind roars. I am Kaningarra, the great rock. Look to the south. That flat ground is sloping now. Who is that coming after me? I am a maparn [magic man] but I’m losing my powers. Look to the west. See his headdress.' (Ngilpirr Spider Snell)

Media Creator:Tim Acker

Media date: 2008
Story Location: Kurtal

Media Description:Kids all ready to perform Kurtal. Majarrka Workshop at Ngumpan Community.

Story contributor(s):Karen Dayman, Monique La Fontaine, Ngilpirr Spider Snell

Art Centre(s): Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre, Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency
Publisher: FORM
Media copyright: FORM
Accession ID:20131024_FORM_MIRA_B0046_0001

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.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.

Majarrka juju

Story:Majarrka is the name of a sacred ceremonial totem carved from the riymangurru tree. Riymangurru trees grow near Paruku [Lake Gregory] and around Yunpu. They are a hardwood used to make weapons and digging sticks. Majarrka is part of the law and Dreaming associated with the riymangurru tree and it has its own song and ceremony. The contemporary story performed in Majarrka juju [song and dance] has evolved out of this traditional ceremony but is based on a true event. It tells the story of two law bosses, Ned Cox’s father’s father, Wurtuwaya, and Tom Lawford’s mother’s grandfather, Wirrali, both of whom are now deceased. Wurtuwaya and Wirrali were travelling around near Paruku as wanya [‘featherfoot’, sorcerers wielding a similar power to maparn but whose work is concerned with payback rather than healing]. They were looking for their sacred Majarrka totem, which had been stolen from Jarrkurti, a place not far from Jalyirr and Yunpu, by a group of men who were performing their own ceremony with it. The men were dancing with the totem when Wurtuwaya and Wirrali found them. The two men were hiding as wanya as they watched the men perform. When the men turned their backs, the two bosses snuck in and retrieved the Majarrka totem. In Majarrka juju the dancers who wear the long headdresses (pukurti) represent the men who stole the Majarrka totem. The two dancers with the flat-topped headdresses (kumunungku) represent the bosses, Wurtuwaya and old Wirrali. 'I want to tell a story about this little stick, this one, kana [digging stick]. Long time ago kartiya [white people] been digging with [iron] bar, long way down, might be 200 feet [to make the Canning Stock Route wells]. Kana, kuturu [large hitting stick used for fighting] and makura [deep coolamon or wooden dish used for carrying water], all to get water in my language. 'This tree and me we been born in the same Country, the one Country. He’s got a meaning this tree. This is the tree now, the meaning. He got the culture, Majarrka. Riymangurru tree from Lake Gregory. That’s the tree, that Majarrka.' (Yanpiyarti Ned Cox, 2007) In this story Yanpiyarti Ned Cox draws a parallel between the sinking of the Canning Stock Route wells and the digging out of waterholes. The traditional hardwood tools and coolamons used to dig and scoop out mud are often made from trees that have important laws and ceremonies associated with them, as is also the case with Majarrka.

Media Creator:Tim Acker

Media date: 2008
Story Location: Paruku (Lake Gregory), Ngumpan

Media Description:Majarrka dancers get dressed and painted up at Majarrka Workshop at Ngumpan Community.

Story contributor(s):Yanpiyarti Ned Cox, Putuparri Tom Lawford, Monique La Fontaine, Karen Dayman

Art Centre(s): Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre, Ngurra Artists, Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency
Publisher: FORM
Media copyright: FORM
Accession ID:20131024_FORM_MIRA_B0046_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.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.

Yanjimi Peter Rowlands

Yanjimi Peter Rowlands - painting story [ORAL HISTORY]
Synopsis: Yanjimi Peter Rowlands tells a story for his painting. His painting is of his Dreaming story, half of the Seven Sisters Dreaming.

Date: 2009-03
Art centre(s): Martumili Artists
Catalogue number: CSROH_275_Yanjimi_Peter_Rowlands
Date: 2009-03
Location Recorded: Punmu
Latitude/Longitude: -22.042865/123.120883

Cultural Protocols: Public Access - Restrictions on Use
Access: Public
Full transcript: Yanjimi Peter Rowlands: My name is Peter Rowlands, Yanjimi Rowlands, Martu call me Yanjimi. My old man told me about my Country and this is, and that’s why I’m painting my story about myself. And this painting I’m doing in my Dreamtime, how it was told that the women arrived and for the first time the mans seen ladies and for the ladies first time they seen mans too. They met up with the Seven Sisters and the ladies were whipping them, they got a hiding from them, in Dreamtime, all the mans. This picture is half of the story I’m painting, this story is half (women only allowed to know half). How all the men got whipped by the Seven Sisters, including me at a place called Wilpiripungkunja. I was in this story, this is my Dreamtime story [jarriny] for me I’m painting, and half of the story. My story is on the north side where they followed me and chased me and whacked them at the northern side of Kalypa. So I’m putting this yapu (rock) and warla (lake) small picture little warla. And part of the red sand is around Kalypa, pana (sand).

END
Source: CSROH_275_Yanjimi_Peter_Rowlands
Rights: Cultural Owner & Storyteller: Yanjimi Peter Rowlands; © 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.

Kumpaya Girgaba

Kumpaya Girgaba - painting Country and stories [ORAL HISTORY]Other Speaker/s: Ngalangka Nola Taylor

Synopsis: Kumpaya Girgaba talks about her Country, and how important painting is in keeping the stories alive.

Date: 2012-06
Art centre(s): Martumili Artists
Language spoken: Martu Wangka, English
Catalogue number: CSROH_280_Kumpaya_Girgaba
Date: 2012-06
Transcribed By: Kathleen Sorenson
Translated By: Kathleen Sorenson

Cultural Protocols: Public Access - Restrictions on Use
Access: Public
Full transcript: 00.05: [Kumpaya Girgaba] Canning Stock Route is my Country.

[Ngalangka Nola Taylor] Next generation will see it.

[Kumpaya] Yeah.

They gonna have a look. People, old men and everybody else, even what I pass on.

So what I pass on everybody else can still watch it.

00.27: [Kumpaya talking about the painting behind her] Big things in the paintings so everyone can see. Whitefella, everybody.

00.58: [Kumpaya] You gotta have a look at my Country. Alright. That’s the story, Jukurrpa [Dreaming]. That is the story I got. That’s all my Country. My Country is Canning Stock Route. That’s alright.

01.53: [Kumpaya] Ngurra Martumili. Martu passed away in Wiluna, Martu passed away in Fitzroy, Martu passed away in Balgo. Everywhere. He stop Canning Stock Route Country. And in Jigalong other people passed away. That’s all. It’s a big thing this one. This one big one too.

02.38: [Kumpaya] We make the paintings of Country, stories for family, men, old people, grandson, grandfather, daughters and sons, everything, brother, all family.

03.20: [Nola translates] Back in the old days used to draw pictures, stories in the sand with fingertips.

Wangka is storytelling – like a drawing, putting something on the canvas. Painting it, but old people used to tell stories on the sand, with fingertips. Even the kids could sit around and play, telling stories.

03.40: They draw it in the sand like they do on a canvas. Doing water holes, this and that. They still do sand drawing, now days in some parts. When you are sitting around a fire or sitting just under the tree.

Nyamu.

END
Source: CSROH_280_Kumpaya_Girgaba
Rights: Cultural Owner & Storyteller: Kumpaya Girgaba; © 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.

Ngamayu Ngamaru Bidu

Ngamayu Ngamaru Bidu - 'Two Birds' painting story [ORAL HISTORY]
Synopsis: Ngamayu Ngamaru Bidu tells a Dreamtime story of a man and a woman who changed into birds and flew away when they found a rockhole was dry.

Date: 2008-04
Art centre(s): Martumili Artists
Language spoken: Martu Wangka
Catalogue number: CSROH_284_Ngamayu_Ngamaru_Bidu
Date: 2008-04
Transcribed By: Ngalangka Nola Taylor
Translated By: Ngalangka Nola Taylor
Location Recorded: Kunawarritji (Well 33)
Latitude/Longitude: -22.34188/124.77525

Cultural Protocols: Public Access - Verbal Consent
Access: Public
Full transcript: [‘Two Birds’ painting story]

[Brown, many footprints, centred on a tiny brown waterhole]

Ngamayu Ngamaru Bidu: The footprints tell the story of a man and a woman, walking back and forth across the same Country, searching for water. The tiny brown rockhole in the centre is Jarturti, and it is small and brown because it contains no water. The man and the woman searched and searched for water but found nothing. Finally, they changed into two birds and flew away.

[Audio File: T351: this recording may relate to the above painting]

This is a well called Martilirri. And around there is also Kalypa and Kartarru, in the middle. And in summertime we could stop in those places because they have permanent water. After the rain we could move back to our homeland because the rockholes and soaks would all be filled again. And we walked around there, and we got the third sister, Ivy. Ivy [Karlkapa] was born in Martilirri. They used to walk around that area, going northwest side of CSR and back out to the east, up and down, back to our homeland, back to our own yinta. And the other two got big enough to hunt small animals [small lizards]. This is Jarturti, country for the Williams family. My uncle’s Country is around Markurti. Kurlku. Can’t remember the name of that soak. Marlukujarra rockhole. And the footprints are a Dreamtime of a man looking for a water, wanti and a man travelling together and flying. When they checked it there was no water around that rockhole, and when there was no water they flew.

END
Source: CSROH_284_Ngamayu_Ngamaru_Bidu
Rights: Cultural Owner & Storyteller: Ngamayu Ngamaru Bidu; © 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.

Mantararr Rosie Williams, Mulyatingki Marney, Jakayu Biljabu, Ngalangka Nola Taylor, Morika Biljabu

Martumili Artists - Minyipuru (Seven Sisters) [ORAL HISTORY]
Synopsis: This is the Minyipuru (Seven Sisters) story, collected from Martumili artists in Punmu, 2009, and collated and transcribed by Monique La Fontaine.

Date: 2009-04
Art centre(s): Martumili Artists
Catalogue number: CSROH_287_Minyipuru
Date: 2009-04
Transcribed By: Monique La Fontaine
Location Recorded: Punmu
Latitude/Longitude: -22.042865/123.120883

Cultural Protocols: Public Access
Access: Public
Notes: This was recorded in transcript only by Monique La Fontaine asking Tom Lawford about the September 2008 Ngumpan workshop.
Full transcript: Minyipuru [Seven Sisters] story

The Martu story of the Seven Sisters originates in the Country around Roebourne and when they began travelling east on their long journey they were many more than seven. The Minyipuru were a big group of ladies including many sisters and mothers. At various places on their journey they lost members of their group until eventually only seven sisters remained.

This is the story told by Martu women, although in their words, ‘there are other stories for other sides’. Many different people have stories for Minyipuru.

The Minyipuru travelled 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 CSR]. They flew from Yurungu and 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, 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 Pangkapirni between Wells 35 & 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. Finally they made a kumpu on his face, until he couldn’t see anything at all and then they were able to free their sister. Yurla couldn’t see anything, but he could hear the Seven Sisters giggling and laughing from somewhere above him. He got a janga, a ladder of wood, and tried to reach them but they just floated higher and then pushed the ladder over when he got too close. He became tired finally 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 Jurntujurntu, (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]. At Pankarlpa the man who was chasing the Seven Sisters caught one of the ladies.

END
Source: CSROH_287_Minyipuru
Rights: Cultural Owner & Storyteller: Mantararr Rosie Williams, Mulyatingki Marney, Jakayu Biljabu, Ngalangka Nola Taylor, Morika Biljabu; © 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.

Yanpiyarti Ned Cox

Yanpiyarti Ned Cox - Majarrka [ORAL HISTORY]
Synopsis: Yanpiyarti Ned Cox talks about Majarrka juju, and he also speaks about the riymangurru tree, from which the sacred ceremonial totem is carved.

Art centre(s): Ngurra Artists
Catalogue number: CSROH_294_Yanpiyarti_Ned_Cox
Cultural Protocols: Public Access - Restrictions on Use
Access: Public
Full transcript: Yanpiyarti Ned Cox: I want to tell a story about this little stick, this one, kana [digging stick]. Long time ago kartiya [white people] been digging with [iron] bar, long way down, might be 200 feet [to make the Canning Stock Route wells]. Kana, kuturu [large hitting stick used for fighting] and makura [deep coolamon or wooden dish used for carrying water], all [we used] to get water in my language.
This tree and me we been born in the same Country, the one Country. He’s got a meaning this tree. This is the tree now, the meaning. He got the culture, Majarrka. Riymangurru tree from Lake Gregory. That’s the tree, that Majarrka.

[What follows is an explanation of Majarrka juju compiled by Monique La Fontaine in conversation with Putuparri Tom Lawford]

Majarrka is the name of a sacred ceremonial totem carved from the riymangurru tree. Riymangurru trees grows near Paruku (Lake Gregory) particularly around Yunpu and they are a hardwood used to make weapons. Majarrka is part of the law and Dreaming associated with the riymangurru tree and has its own song and ceremony.

The contemporary story performed in Majarrka juju (song and dance) has evolved out of the traditional ceremony, however, and is based on a true story. It tells the story of two bosses, Ned Cox’ father’s father, Wurtuwaya, and Tom Lawford’s mother’s grandfather, Wirrali, both of whom are deceased.

Wurtuwaya and Wirrali were travelling around near Paruku as wanya [featherfoot, sorcerer; wielding similar power as maparn but concerned with payback rather than healing] looking for their sacred Majarrka totem, which had been stolen from Jarrkurti, a place not far from Jalyirr and Yunpu, by a group of men. The men were dancing with the totem when Wurtuwaya and Wirrali found them. The two men were hiding as wanya as they watched them. When the men turned their backs the two bosses snuck in and stole the Majarrka totem back.

In Majarrka juju the dancers who wear the long headdresses (pukurti) represent the men who stole the Majarrka totem. The two dancers with the flat-topped headdresses (kumunungku) represent the bosses, Wurtuwaya and old Wirrali.

END
Source: CSROH_294_Yanpiyarti_Ned_Cox
Rights: Cultural Owner & Storyteller: Yanpiyarti Ned Cox; © 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.

Dadda Samson, Judith Samson, Jakayu Biljabu, Yanjimi Peter Rowlands

Dadda Samson, Judith Samson, Jakayu Biljabu, Yanjimi Peter Rowlands - Kumpupirntily (Lake Disappointment) [ORAL HISTORY]
Synopsis: Dadda Samson, Judith Samson, Jakayu Biljabu, Yanjimi Peter Rowlands talk about Kumpupirntily.

Date: 2009-04
Art centre(s): Martumili Artists
Language spoken: Kriol
Catalogue number: CSROH_235_Jakayu_Biljabu_Dadda_Samson_Judith_Samson
Date: 2009-04
Transcribed By: Monique La Fontaine
Location Described: Kumpupirntily (Lake Disappointment)
Location Recorded: Punmu
Latitude/Longitude: -22.056806/123.151897
Caution: Contains some course language.

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: Painting story: Dadda Samson with Judith Samson (painting catalogue number: 217) – Puntuwarri

P = long shape centre bottom. Yinta (waterhole) surrounding P is yinta, yapu are also surrounding – circles. Hills are circles on the side and Mangkaja. Hills on both side. Circles.

Ngayrnangalku yapu (hills) on other side – light yellow circles. Little baby girl and they ask him are we going to stay one- eat only malu (wallaby) kulku (bandicoot?) etc.

Little wanti (girl) says no we going to eat human too.

Dadda Samson and Jakayu Biljabu: Kumpupirntily (painting story)

Little baby been say Hmm! Mm! (like a hiccup, which meant:) yes keep eating them.

They started sound Mantawinti side and went all the way down and went on their knee and wailed and crawled all the way to Lake Disappointment - Ngayurnangalku travel all the way Savory Creek east and west, stopped at Jilakuru and near Puntuwarri long way and finally stopped at Lake Disappointment.

Dadda Samson (painting catalogue number: 83) Purlpa – Mummy’s country near Mungarlu

Jakayu is related to Mr. Giles through Nyilangkurr country – all belong.

Yanjimi Peter Rowlands, Parnngurr April 2009:

Them Ngayurnangalku they been all mustering one another. Pantalyarra is where Ngayurnangalku started from (Kuntilpa and where Mantawinti is where Savoury creek start Yilkari). They followed that river through Kakarina through Puntuwari. One mob good people coming from direction above. Other mob bad mob come from Natawalu side – one old man round Punmu side eat someone and his mouth all burn. People coming from Puntujarrpa Kiwirrkura side as well. Met up with Warnman people again ‘nother mob.

END
Source: CSROH_235_Jakayu_Biljabu_Dadda_Samson_Judith_Samson
Rights: Cultural Owner & Storyteller: Dadda Samson, Judith Samson, Jakayu Biljabu, Yanjimi Peter Rowlands; © 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.

Murungkurr Terry Murray

Murungkurr Terry Murray - family and Country [ORAL HISTORY]
Synopsis: Murungkurr Terry Murray talks about discovering family connections through the Canning Stock Route Project, and the way he has family linked from waterhole to waterhole.

Date: 2009-10-27
Art centre(s): CSR Project, Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency, Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre
Language spoken: English
Catalogue number: CSROH_211_Murungkurr_Terry_Murray
Date: 2009-10-27
Location Recorded: Parnngurr
Latitude/Longitude: -20.492731/118.537344

Cultural Protocols: Public Access
Access: Public
Full transcript: Murungkurr Terry Murray: Ok cut … I mean go with it! [laughs] … sorry about that!

TM: Today we’re in Parnngurr, all day we are just having big meetings. Finalising the ... going through the book, the Canning Stock Route Book and talking to artists about what’s going in the book, the Canning Stock Route book, then signing off on the story lines, what paintings are hanging in the collection in Canberra at the National Museum – Canning Stock Route Project. Today was a big day for us. Trying to finalise everything and that everyone is happy, from the TO’s [traditional owners], the artists.

Nicole Ma: Were they happy?

TM: Yeah they were happy, and giving us more story on their painting and also on their biography and artist history, where they been born and what area they paint on the Canning Stock Route.

NM: What was the most interesting story for you today?

TM: Oh just, family connections, from my aunty. How, coming through the desert and how they are related to my mob, all still family connection from jila to jila.

NM: Have you heard that story before or was it new to you?

TM: I heard this story before, but coming from my aunty here in Parnngurr (about) the connection, I been told the story up in Mangkaja there. And coming here on this Canning Stock Route project, and yeah hearing the same story and how everybody is related.

NM: Was that special for you?

TM: It’s special. I had a laugh and good feeling in inside.

NM: Did she tell you about your [XX - ?]

TM: [She was] telling me about my grandfather and how he went walking through the desert picking new wives – walking from Japingka through to Wirnpa – getting wives and going back up – and how everybody is related today. Yeah it was a bit funny hearing it …

NM: Ah, so he walked along the stock route getting new wives all along the way?

TM: Nah, not the stock route, you know Lake Percival and Wirnpa, and how they are overlapping with the [XX - ?] people. How some lines of waterhole, jila, Great Sandy Desert. How Martu and Ngurra people all connected.

NM: Yeah, that’s interesting

TM: Yeah, it’s interesting. You know all this week we been talking about history. Before Canning made those lines of well it was all family groups, tribes and language groups that were related – how that connection in the Western Desert. Family tribes meeting other family in different jila and different waterholes in the desert.

So it’s a big movement now. How Canning made those lines on Martu Country you know, now days we are living, everybody moved – separated to different part of the Western Desert to different towns: Fitzroy Crossing, Newman, Jigalong, Balgo, Broome, Bidyadanga. And that connection is still alive today in the heart of the desert. We all still got that family connection and language connection. We all one mob. All one [Martu] people. And yeah ... Canning Stock Route is another history. It’s the European version, but now what we’re talking about is how this land, the Western Desert, is connected with Martu, with Aboriginal [people]. How daily lives were all connected back through song and dance and Dreaming and the desert.

END
Video format: DVD/MiniDV/Quicktime movie
Video recording: 103 Kimberley Approvals, Nov 09
Source: CSROH_211_Murungkurr_Terry_Murray
Rights: Cultural Owner & Storyteller: Murungkurr Terry Murray; © 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.

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