Message from Wanta Jampijinpa

Wanta talks about the importance of ceremony and Kurdiji:

“Ceremony is not a thing to be entertaining and that’s all – it is teaching time for how we should walk in this country…. When you are little, you only learn the surface part. When men take you (into initiation) then you learn the underneath part. Women teach you how to eat food that is good for you and that makes your body strong. Now you have to go hand over in that kurdiji [initiation ceremony] and now they’ll teach you all that story about that plant. What time he’s coming, what time to expect him. They’ll do it in this funny thing you call dance, corroboree. You know, it is a bit like going to school. When kardiya [non-indigenous people] go to all this university, ceremony is like that one. To have this knowledge, knowing the way of learning about all these animals and plants.”

“Consider a music player: ipod or walkman. The battery is people and the battery charger is ceremony. Sometimes batteries go flat and die if they are not recharged. So too if people are not going to ceremony. They will not be refreshing or learning their knowledge about country. The knowledge for people is like the electricity for the battery. Now, the place where you put that battery is its little home – it slots in there. Similarly Warlpiri people’s home should be on their country; they belong there, it’s the right place for them. When the electricity, the battery, and the slot all come together then you can turn on the music player and listen to it: the whole system is functioning. You can learn from it now: learn to sing that song, to talk that language, that language of country.”LS0031

(Photograph by Judith Crispin)

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