Name: Clifford Brooks
Clifford Brooks - Painting stories and skin groups [ORAL HISTORY]
Synopsis: Clifford Brooks explains two of his paintings and explains four skin groups to John Carty.
Language spoken: English
Catalogue number: CSROH_17A_Clifford_Brooks
Interviewed By: John Carty, Karen Dayman
Transcribed By: Monique La Fontaine
Location Recorded: Kutjuwarri (Well 46)
Cultural Protocols: Public Access - Verbal Consent
Notes: These are transcribed stories for Clifford Brooks’ paintings: CB/11/TJ, and CB/9/TJ. Paintings CB/11/TJ and CB/9/TJ were not part of the final collection.
Full transcript: John Carty: Ok, this one now is for Cliffy’s painting catalogue number CB-11-TJ.
Clifford Brooks: Yu. Yuwayi [yes], this just about all the Ngurra [Country], you know. People live in their own Ngurra, like rock holes, and they got their own, own maaja [law boss], like own boss, and their own, might be they got a one elder there. Like when you go to communities now they got that big boss there, might be for the tribe for the law, you know business time, they got a boss there. Like a one boss for law, ‘nother boss for … different, different law they got ‘em, you know, different tribes got different … Like he’s in charge of that dance group, he’s in charge of this dance group, you know, that one there. You know, Ngurra, you know, not one boss for everything. Gotta listen to, you know, if one talking they gotta all agree, you know. Sometime you don’t get people all agreeing in one you know, you get, ‘Ah, nah, nah, nah. You do it this way,’ you know. They don’t all agree in one, they all different, different but different way of thinking you know. Yu [yes].
Karen Dayman: That always been the case?
CB: Yu [yes].
KD: Bushmen would have been arguing little bit too?
CB: Oh yeah. Some people don’t agree with one. You know, ‘oh, let’s do it for the whole lot of us,’ you know. Whole lot. [Laughs] I been see that happen you know. Yu [yes]. Now then and [in whiny voice], ‘Oh, what you gotta say? Well we not gonna listen to him,’ you know. ‘He not a maaja [law boss].’ Yeah. [Laughs] You know, might be he just come lately that bloke, man you know. They go, ‘Ah no, we gotta listen to that old fella, he been there long time, you know. He’s the maaja. He got the dreaming, that one there, you know. Listen to that man there’. You know, one group decide, one group that side, ‘nother group that side, ‘nother group that side. That’s why, you know, [laughs] different different ideas, you know. [Laughs.]
KD: [XX - indecipherable]
CB: Yeah that’s that story there that one.
JC: Alright, we’re moving on to Clifford’s other painting, CB-09-TJ.
CB: Yuwayi [yes]. This one four skin groups. You know, four skin groups? For that one. Four skin groups. You probably get the name of the four skin groups in the book you know. They got ‘em in schools there.
JC: Say ‘em now.
CB: Karimarra. Panaka, Purungu and Milangka.
JC: You’re Milangka? [Speaking to Karen Dayman]
JC: And you? [Speaking to Clifford Brooks]
JC: You’re Karimarra.
CB: Same as Tjungurrayi and yeah. [Laughs]
JC: How does that? Do you know how they flip over? With the eight and the four … so that Karimarra
that’s a Tjungurrayi and ...
CB: Tjungurrayi yeah.
JC: Karimarra is Tjungurrayi and which one? You know how there’s ...
CB: [XX – Jarartu?] Jarartu, you talking about Walapayi.
KD: Is it male/female?
CB: Eh? No, no. That’s skin colour. Desert, they different. They say different way. Different way of saying it, but it’s the same word what they mean.
JC: Yeah, yeah, but I’m just thinking like …
KD: Milangka is Nakarra so Jakarra?
CB: Yuwayi [yes] and Jampijin. Jampijin.
KD: They said I’m Milangka, I’m Nakarra.
CB: Yu [yes], Milangka and Jampijin. Yeah, you know what they call, ah whatsaname mob, um Walmajarri [language group] mob or that side, what they call em, that Balgo mob, Kukatja [language group] mob call it, yeah.
JC: Yeah, see that way, Balgo mob got eight skins so …
CB: All mean the same thing, but different way of saying it.
JC: Yeah, but like so Milangka is Tjakamarra, Nampitjin, Tjampitjin, but you know what Purungu is?
CB: Purungu, ah I don’t know Purungu.
CB: I don’t know Purungu. I don’t know that one. But Walapayi, he know.
JC: Yeah, I’ll ask him. Because I don’t fully understand which one is which, I only know Milangka.
KD: Yeah, Milangka, yeah, like Jakarra, Nakarra.
CB: Yu [yes] Jakarra, yu.
KD: Jakarra, Japanangka.
CB: Japanangka is like me, yu [yes].
CB: No, no. Like people on that side, me, like a Japanangka they call me or Tjungurrayi they call me if I go
KD: Japanangka or Tjungurrayi? That’s different.
CB: Yu [yes]. Japanangka is like the way they call me, the different way they call ‘em that side.
JC: Japanagka, Tjungurrayi for Karimarra.
CB: Yu [yes], Karimarra Tjungurrayi, yu, that’s one same colour, me.
JC: So, Japanangka Napanangka is the same, male/female is irrelevant.
CB: Yeah. Like the old man Milangka well that side they might call you oh Jampijin.
JC: No, Nampitjin.
CB: Nampijin they call ‘em Jampijin like same thing. Like one old fella name is a Jampijin.
JC: N is for female and TJ is for male. [Note: Interviewer references TJ here because he speaks some Kukatja. However, in the orthographies of Manyjilyjarra and Martu languages the usage is J.]
KD: That’s what I’m saying that Nakarra and Nampitjin are the same.
JC: The same. In Martu.
CB: Yuwo [yes], Milangka. Milangka yu [yes], like Milangka I call ‘em niece or Mummy, I call em, me.
KD: But they’re not the same in Kukatja, so ...
JC: No, not at all.
CB: See different way they call em that side. Different way they call em. See, you have a look there Walapayi and Tjungurrayi, they two brothers. They got the same colour but see, they call him Tjungurrayi because he went that side. He went to that place, what they say? What that...
JC: [XX – indecipherable]
CB: No that way, that way … Lajamanu. Well Tjungurrayi they still the same because Walapayi was saying, ‘I’m a Jarurra [Jungkurra?] me. I’m one Jarrurta. I never change my name.’ He been tell that he went that way, he came back a Nungurrayi, ah a Tjungurrayi. Yu [yes] and he was saying that the other day. You been hear him? Yeah.
KD: So you were saying Nakarra is Milangka, so what does Nakarra call Jampijin?
CB: Ah, I’m not sure ‘cause that’s a different way that side. [Laughs]
KD: Yeah, but I’m just wondering why they’re grouped like that.
JC: Um, maternal grandparents.
CB: Must be … granny … yu [yes].
JC: Must be Tjungurrayi maybe. What do you call them? Uncle?
CB: No, brother! Them two they the same colour.
JC: It’s too hard.
CB: It’s too hard.
KD: So that’s the four main ones there.
CB: That’s the four main ones, that’s the Ngurra [Country] there, all the Ngurra there yuwo [yes]. Yuwo.
Rights: Cultural Owner & Storyteller: Clifford Brooks; © 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.