2018 Milpirri Themes and Artefacts
Yellow Group - Japaljarri, Jungarrayi, Napaljarri and Nungarrayi
Male Artefact - Boomerangs (Karli and/or Malpa)
Female Artefact - Bean Necklace (Yinirnti)
Respect is how we co-exist. With respect for each other, for ourselves, for the land and for the law.
We are all parts of the same body. The body of humanity. We are the arms and legs of each other. Just as in the human body, every part is important. If the parts of the body do not work together, the body will be powerless and our ability will be limited. If we work together, if we treat each other fairly, if we value everybody equally, then everyone will succeed. The body of our community will thrive.
The Karli - the boomerang - is given as a symbol of respect. It is used for hunting, and for bringing the ceremony alive with the boomerang clapping. The two boomerangs represent the two moieties, land and sky. The knowledge of the sky, the law of the land; with equal respect for both. They reflect each other’s understanding.
The bean necklace – yinirnti - represents the choices we make, and the consequences of those choices. It can guide us to make sense of the choices, and keep us on the right path.
Blue Group - Jangala, Jampijinpa, Nangala and Nampijinpa
Male Artefact - Stone Axe (Kurrwa)
Female Artefact - Water Carrier (Mardu)
Look after the law and the law will look after you. It will flow, just like it’s supposed to. It is up to us to keep it flowing. Blow on the embers to make it strong again.
Kurrawarri is the way everything flows. Like the eco system, it is something we are all part of. Our existence lies within Kurrawarri. We all have our own part to play. And so, we must take on the kurruwa that is handed to us. If we take up responsibility for our land, our story and our culture, it will shape our identity and look after us into the future.
We need to adapt to the seasons and maintain the flow of mother earth. Adapt to our challenges. Move forward together. Our Kurruwa/responsibility is what will shape the system into balance again. Like the Milpirri’s cold air forming and hot air rising we can make sense of adapting to each other. Then we become the rain, the nourishment for our home country.
The stone axe, kurruwa, is a tool that requires great skill to master. It is essential to survival on country. It gives us respect ,discipline, justice and eventually gives us the understanding we need to survive on this great land. To be given the stone axe is to accept responsibility. If it falls into the wrong hands, our ability to hunt and make tools will be jeopardised.
The mardu, water carrier, holds life-giving water. It holds that which nurtures us, nurtures the system of life itself. To carry the mardu is to shoulder responsibility. Without water, ngapa, we will not survive. If we have ngapa, we are rich.
Red Group - Jakamarra, Jupurrula, Nakamarra and Napurrula
Male Artefact - Black Headed Spear (Mangurlpa)
Female Artefact - Grinding Stone (Ngalikirri)
Law is like a road, laid out for us to follow. If we look to the milky way – Warntarri Tarri – its knowledge and guidance will steer us on the right path. If you do not follow the law, the law will follow you. You cannot escape it. Both the sky and the earth carry you. Ngurru Kanyi Kangu.
If we do wrong by the law, justice will be done. It may hurt us. But justice can make a wrong thing right and make a bad thing good.
This restorative process of justice is represented by the Mangurlpa – black-headed spear – and by the Ngalikirri – the grinding stone. As the spear dispenses its justice bringing in balance, the grinding stone winnows the bad from the good. Righting wrongs. Shaping and restoring the balance.
Green Group - Japanangka, Japangardi, Napanangka and Napangardi
Male Artefact - Stone Knife (Junma or Wulampi)
Female Artefact - Coolamon (Parraja)
Discipline is taking time to know, understand and follow the law. With discipline, our lives are full. We can keep our stories alive. We can help our country. With discipline, we are free.
We often see the effects of living an undisciplined life. We see lawless behaviour, and how it impacts our community. We see scars on the back of those who have been undisciplined. We wear scars on our chests to remind us of the importance of discipline.
In Warlpiri law, these scars are made by the Wulampi – the stone knife. But similar scars can be seen in other types of law. Prison is a scar; community service is a scar. The mental scars we bear are not always worn on our bodies, but they show devastating consequences like suicide.
When a baby is first born, it is put in the Coolamon – called Parraja – where it is carried by its mother. For the first few weeks of its life, the child cannot be touched by its father while it is in the Coolamon. This is a test of discipline and also to not interrupt the sacred bond between mother and child.
If there is no discipline the consequences will be too big to handle.
By practicing discipline, we gain strength and freedom.