Last year I made this community film with David Slowo and video trainees from PAW Media & Communications.
The brief was to explore the role of governance within the Warlpiri Youth Development Aboriginal Corporation (WYDAC).
WYDAC started in 1993 as a response to petrol sniffing in Yuendumu. It began as a remote outstation program at Mt Theo. Andrew Stojanovski (working for Yuendumu School at the time) took young people to the outstation where they were cared for by Peggy Nampijinpa Brown and Johnny Japangardi Miller (and their families). In 2010, Andrew published a book about the early history of the program that is available in bookstores or direct from WYDAC (however WYDAC encourage you to try source it locally first). You can view a sample on the Readings website. It is also available digitally on Booki.sh.
Peggy (who is interviewed in the film) and … Read More »
Football is a part of every young Warlpiri man’s life. When discussing the origins and introduction of Australian Rules football in Yuendumu, the older men will often reminisce about a game called ‘Purlja’ that they used to play when they were kids. It involved a round ball of emu feathers bound together with hairstring. They would divide themselves into two teams along the ‘Ngawu-kurlangu’ and ‘Ngurrju-kurlangu’ division of Warlpiri society, or in anthropological terms, two ‘moieties’. ‘Ngawu-kurlangu’ refers to those people in the opposite moiety, ‘Ngurrju-kurlangu’ to those in the same moiety. These divisions, also referred to as ‘nyurrpu’, are occasionally used by boys today when playing football amongst themselves, but are not used for more formal games.
I was thinking about Darby today and came across these words which I read out at his funeral five years ago. First in Warlpiri, then in English.
I stumbled across this today. I wrote it about 8 or 9 years ago and thought I’d post it.
After returning from a funeral in Melbourne of a Whitefella who used to live in the community I was greeted by two Nampijinpa ladies. They wanted to talk to me and I offered them a cup of tea and we sat on the grass outside. We each sat looking in a different direction. We talked for a little while about my trip and the insignificant details of travelling 3000 ks in a Toyota. It soon became clear that the ladies wanted to discuss the funeral.
I did not realise the affect this persons death had had on the community. One of the ladies, who people had begun calling my ‘mother’ after her only son died, took my hand in hers and told … Read More »
Documentary on Australian Rules Football — Warlpiri style!
Darby: One hundred years of life in a changing culture
Featuring photos by Scott Duncan
First Published by ABC Books (2006). Produced by Warlpiri Media Association.