Connection to Country

“Without the connection between the land and the person the individual is lost, empty inside, not connected to anyone or anything or the land. If the connection is lost they won’t survive and their identity no longer exists. Jukurrpa is our life first. Jukurrpa connects us to our country. It is Law that makes it our right to our country. We can’t be sent away.

This Art Centre (Warnayaka Arts Centre) is for the young people to learn their culture and Law. It is important for our youth to learn the knowledge held by the Ngalia and Warnayaka peoples. The art centre is for the survival of culture from the grandfathers’ and grandmothers’ country. The children are getting lost and there are not many old men left, some women but few men. Some of our important Dreaming sites are hundreds of kilometres from Lajamanu. The grandchildren and great grandchildren who live in Lajamanu need to know their Jukurrpa, otherwise they will lose their inheritance to this really important country. They need to know the Warlpiri Ngalia Laws so they can go onto their their great grandfathers’ and anscestors’ land, especially where these important Dreaming sites are, like at Mina Mina and Kana-kurlangu. This is why the art centre is so important to the people of Lajamanu. At any time children can see the works of the elders telling them the Kurdiji, the Law, and all that is tied into the Jukurrpa paintings.”

(Warnayaka Art elders, explaining how kurdiji and other important warlpiri concepts are transmitted through culture. recorded by Art Centre manager Louisa Erglis)

Kurdiji 1.0 app has grown out of the warlpiri belief that connection with culture makes young indigenous people strong. Indigenous elders are working with non-indigenous technologists and researchers to make this dream a reality.

If you’d like to help indigenous Australians tackle the issue of suicide, then please support out crowdfunding campaign, which launches on April 4th.

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(Photograph by Judith Crispin)

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