Big Bill Niedjie’s bone ceremony

Rock stays
Earth stays
I die and put my bones in cave or earth.
Soon my bones become earth …
All the same.
My spirit has gone back to my country …
My mother.
(Big Bill Niedjie)
Despite Aboriginal custom traditionally refusing to allow the faces of people who have died to be shown, highly respected Gagudju elder ”Big” Bill Neidjie requested that his bone ceremony, or lorrkkon, be captured on film.
On 25 March 2014, the descendants of Big Bill Neidjie gave to AIATSIS for safe-keeping the film footage of his final mortuary ceremony, held on his country in Kakadu National Park.
You can find part of the film here:

For more information on Bill Neidjie’s ceremony see the AIATSIS online exhibition here:

For more videos from AIATSIS, visit their vimeo channel here:

Kurdiji 1.0 is reconnecting young Aboriginal people with culture, ceremony and country, in order to increase resilience and prevent suicides. This community-led Warlpiri initiative is in its final week of crowdfunding and we need your help. Please donate at and share the campaign.

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