“. . . Ceremony is a mother. It is looking after you. What I’m really saying is that it is not yapa (Aboriginal people) who have ceremony, it is ceremony that has yapa. Ceremony is holding yapa because you can’t look after mother, mother has to look after you. When you are talking about mother and sons (in kurdiji ceremony), mother is also country. We have to be good sons to look after it. Country gives you trees; you have to know which one to cut for boomerang. It gives you that animal; you have to know when to kill that animal and when to not kill that animal. It gives you all the mangarri (non-meat food); you have to consume it quickly because you know it will change and you have to wait till next year for it, which is a long time to wait to eat it again . . .
. . . I mean how can you (kardiya) learn anything if you don’t have a book, or something written down? So you can say that ceremony is just a book. It’s a book that you can read and learn more about which way is a better way. It talks back to you, it keeps you, it’s like a mother feeding you. ‘Food for thought’, I think there is a kardiya way of saying.”
Ceremony is one of the four pillars of ‘Kurdiji’, which is the name of an initiation ceremony (depicted by Lola Nampijinpa Brown in the drawing) and also a system of increasing resilience in young people. The ideas of Kurdiji were traditionally conveyed through the ceremony of the same name. But where does that leave young Aboriginal people who, for one reason or another, have no access to ceremonies? Warlpiri elders are crowdfunding an app to bring Kurdiji to Indigenous people wherever they are. You can support them by donating at http://www.kurdijiproject.com and sharing the campaign.