“I want to tell you about Yama. This is the Warlpiri word for a shadow, or reflection. It’s also a word that we use to describe a meeting or a meeting-place; we gather under a tree that casts a shadow (a reflection of its shape) onto the ground, and we talk in a group – both men and women together, equally – to make decisions and to reflect on ourselves and our lives. But it’s deeper, too. In yapa (Aboriginal) culture, if someone says “you don’t have a shadow”, it means you don’t exist. All the birds, all the small animals, trees – these things all have a shadow; all of your country and everything in it; this is your universe. How can you reflect your universe? And what about you? Does your homeland reflect you?
. . . I’ve been all over the world, searching for Ngurra Kurlu (the home within). Each country’s, each people’s Ngurra Kurlu is different. If you don’t speak your language, if you don’t know your culture, the songlines of the animals in your country, how can you express yourself or where you’re from? This reflection happens through language, through dance, art, even food – that’s Ngurra Kurlu. There is a universe and we are its shadow.
We yapa say ‘Don’t become Australian, become Australia’.
That’s Ngurra Kurlu.”
Kurdiji 1.0 Aboriginal suicide prevention app is an initiative of Warlpiri elders from Lajamanu. It aims to reconnect young Indigenous people with their culture, their homeland. You can support the Warlpiri effort to save young Aboriginal lives by donating at www.kurdijiproject.com and sharing the campaign.