Mapping Country

Culturally Mapping our Yindjibarndi Country with our Elders, Law Holders, and families has been an important part of our Juluwarlu work for more than 10 years. Our Field Trips on country engage young people, Elders and Family Leaders with in-depth inter-generational experiences as we map, record in Yindjibarndi and English on film and digital audio the narratives of place and the memories held by our Elders that include ancestral narratives, songs, plant, animal and rain making rituals, the connections we hold with stars and moon, climate and our Marrga Creation Spirits, the created petroglyphs and painted images they made on our country, and traditional land management practices, and the history of our families working and living on our country since the arrival of the pastoralists in the 1860s.

If appropriate, we carry out thalu ceremonies. We hunt and fish and photographically record and gather food and medicine plants and teach the marnggarliyarra (children) their uses.

Each mapping project begins by selecting the ngurrara (region) to be mapped and deeply understood. If existing, historical, pastoral, anthropological records, and old maps are researched and consulted, and discussed with Elders as we draw up the list of journeys we need to take.

Most of our field trips are held during school holidays so that families, young and children can learn from our greatest teachers in all the most important places on our tablelands and along our rivers. As many as 70 participants travel on these field trips. We document our country with GPS and photographs. Sound and video recordings are made as Elders share their knowledge in our Yindjibarndi Language. Young people and children are encouraged to play roles as photographers, to learn everything, and behave according to our Yindjibarndi values.

Cultural Mapping Trips result in:

  • important knowledge, photographic records, Yindjibarndi spoken narratives and songs, and new cultural maps that are preserved in our Archive for future generations
  • the production and publication of video documentaries and cultural stories for radio broadcasts
  • the registration of important Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Heritage Sites
  • skills and training in field trip management and co-ordination
  • the deepening of cultural knowledge, values and language skills among our young people and
  • the creation and publication of high quality bi-lingual illustrated books and detailed maps

Publications resulting from Cultural Mapping Research Trips include:

  • Wanggalili: Yindjibarndi and Ngarluma Plants (2003)
  • Garruragan Yindjibarndi Fauna (2005)
  • Ngurra Warndurala Buluyugayi Nhankangunha (Exploring Yindjibarndi Country – Millstream) (2007)
  • Ngurra Warndurala Buluyugayi Wuyumarri (Exploring Yindjibarndi Country – Gregory Gorge) (2008)
  • Ngurra Warndurala Buluyugayi Yawajunha (Exploring Yindjibarndi Country – Lockyer’s Gorge) (2012)

Juluwarlu also carries out on-country camping journeys for particular groups, including Women Elder led Knowledge Journeys for Young Women and Girls, Yindjibarndi Artist Camps on Country, and Kids Culture Camps for Roebourne District School.

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