Wanta Jampijinpa on keeping culture

“I am now passionate about keeping my culture. That doesn’t mean that my culture has to remain fossilized as a museum piece, or jailed in a human zoo. It doesn’t mean that my culture has to be lived in the context of naked desert wanderers. However, it does mean that the essential values of my culture can carry me and can be expressed in whatever lifestyle confronts me. My culture can be passed on to my children and my children’s children, and I know that the values that they learn through my culture will help them to meet any kind of challenges that the future may present to them. . .

. . . there are now young people who want to learn the old song.lines and understand what they are teaching, and how to apply those messages to their lives living in the twenty.first century. Whereas before the young people did not want to listen to the Old People. They were like two strangers living in one place. Now there is a hunger for all that the Old People have.

In Warlpiri culture we have an act where a kurduwa (a stone axe) is passed from an old man to a younger man. This symbolizes the old man’s trust in the younger man, that he has learned sufficient knowledge to be entrusted with the task of making hunting implements on his own. Milpirri is the passing on of the kurduwa. It is the older generation passing on to the younger generations the responsibility of keeping the culture. The younger generations can now dream about the future with their rich heritage in mind.

Ngula juku!”

(Wanta Jampijinpa Pawu-Kurlpurlurnu​)

Wanta is the driving force behind the Kurdiji 1.0 Aboriginal suicide prevention app. You can help him reinvigorate Indigenous culture and save young Aboriginal lives by donating at http://www.kurdijiproject.com and sharing the campaign.


(photograph of Henry Cook by Judith Crispin)

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