Milpirri - Introductions and youth song lyrics

Kurdji - Introduction to Milpirri 2016

Kurdiji. A time of initiation. Young boys within the tribe are becoming men. This is an important time for the Warlpiri people. The boys have been nurtured and cared for by their mothers during the early stages of life. This connection between mother and child is very strong and brings many crucial lessons. During Kurdiji, the young boy is handed from his mother to the elder men, to begin the next stages of learning.

The ceremonies of Kurdiji embody four strong and sacred symbols. The morning star, kangaroo, emu and witi poles. These four elements combine to form a shield, a symbol of protection and guardianship. Wooden shields are decorated with dot paintings, representing each of the initiate's grandparents. This is malkarri, the map which helps us navigate our path. It steers us through our learning, allowing us to become guardians and protectors of our homeland, as is the way of the Wedge-Tailed Eagle.

Our malkarri is written in the land and in the sky. The emu flies across the milky way, showing us which way to go. The southern cross, the emu's crown, tells us who we are. It is a crown of knowledge, a crown of identity. If we truly understand ourselves, then we are all king and queen in our homeland.

Green group introdution and youth song lyrics

A new day is dawning. Birds are celebrating with their morning song; the night is being broken into sunlight. It is time to clear the way ahead of us and embark on a new journey, a new path. This is walyka, the time of Napangardi and Napanangka. The wet season is over and all around us things are growing. It is time for us to grow as well.

The morning star is strongest at this time. It is known as Palpawarnu, "the wise one", and its arrival triggers a celebration of the existence of land and people.

In the Marnakurrawarnu initiation ceremony, young men are handed over from their mothers to the law men in the community. This symbolises a new stage in their development, as they transition from milk (soft) learning, to meat (hard) learning. By completing this initiation, these young men are seen to be re-born. Embers from the jarra, (fire), are thrown into the air, to represent the sun and morning star rising into the sky. A re-birth in itself.

This is the beginning of Kurdiji. 

(Youth song lyrics)


Wake up, wake up!
Look at the sky.

Wake up, wake up!
The sun is coming up.

Wake up, wake up!
The morning star is rising.

Wake up, wake up!
New day, new beginning.

Wake up, wake up!


Birds are singing.
It's morning time.
Throw the fire.
In the sky.

Red group introdution and youth song lyrics

It is pirriya, the dry season, the time of Nakamarra and Napurrurla. We are covering up, as the air is cool. But the sun is high in the sky and we can see everything around us. We can see the land, the body of the Kangaroo, which represents law and responsibility.

The Kangaroo represents this country and the earth. Its body helps us understand the inner-working of things. The intricate systems that make up our bodies, our law and the world around us. This is known as Kuruwarri, which means "the living stories that are etched inside us".

Our world is made up of many different systems. All of these systems combine to become one, such as in a body. The Kangaroo teaches us that we have to work together as a system in order to survive. It is our responsibility to help each other and care for each other. If we don't stick together, we will break apart. The body of the community will start to break down.

We all have a different part to play. The law is what keeps us together and helps us understand our place in that system.

(Youth song lyrics)

Verse 1

The body of the kangaroo.
The story of the land is true.
The land is red; the sky is blue.
System of law for me and you.

Verse 2

Stick together don't break apart.
If we do it breaks our heart.
Stick together don't break apart.
We all play a different part.

Hype ad libs

Jakamarra, jupurrula.
Nakamarra, naparulla.

Yellow group introdution and youth song lyrics

Japaljarri; Jungarrai. They are the binders, connecting us to the sky, and the land. To the teachings of the emu, and the law of the Kangaroo. They remind us of the importance of knowledge and wisdom.

If we understand the positive and negative consequences of our actions, we will be able to make the right choices. If we are hungry for knowledge, we will feed on this knowledge and it will help us become strong and resilient, like a tree.

The warlpiri word for tree is watiya, which comes from wati, meaning "man". The trees represent human beings, planted in their homeland, standing firm and strong, ready for whatever comes. Trees can survive storms, flooding, even bushfires. So too, if we gather the right knowledge and work hard to understand our environment, we can stand strong and firm no matter what the world throws at us.

(Youth song lyrics)


Stand strong like a watiya.
Stand up tall and learn your culture.
Hungry for knowledge, just like food.
Feed on the knowledge like we do with a fruit.


Make good choices.
Stand up tall.
Just like a tree.
Make your family proud.

Verse 2

Good way, bad way, which way to go?
Choose our path and then we'll know.
Follow the flow so we can grow.
The eagle shows us where to go.

Blue group introdution and youth song lyrics

The emu is disappearing from the sky, diving into the ocean. This signals the arrival of the wet season. The water, ngapa, is everywhere. It is a time for celebration, but also for learning. The emu is our teacher, feeding us the gift of knowledge.

The emu tells us we must seek out our learning. We may have to look closely, because sometimes the lessons are hidden. But if we are hungry for knowledge, we will dig it up like food, then feed on the knowledge to make ourselves strong. By learning about this country, we learn about ourselves. If we discard this teaching, we are left vulnerable.

Knowledge is given to us as a gift. Once it has been given to us, we become a gift to someone else. Once we have learnt through our own experience, we can pass the gift of knowledge on to others.

(Youth song lyrics)


This is the story of the emu.
Digging for the knowledge in the ground.
We become stronger when it's found.
Putting our culture in the sound.


We receive knowledge as a gift.
Understand what is right and wrong.
The lesson of the stories passed down.
Putting our culture in the song.

Kurdiji Outro

Life is a road. And like all journeys, before we depart, we must equip ourselves with the ability to navigate. But how do we prepare ourselves mentally and physically for the road ahead? A ceremony is stirring. A ceremony called Kurdiji. We are ready for a new beginning.