Yolŋu Studies Livestream Lecture Series

Lecture 29: Semester 2, 2014 Introduction

Lecture link: http://new.livestream.com/accounts/2047566/events/1840804/videos/57278724

[Watched in the College of Law, Room G021, ANU, 6pm Wednesday, July 23rd 2014]

In this lecture Ṉäkarrma gives an introduction to what he will be talking about in the next series of lectures.

"...most images and the clips you'll be watching will be almost the same as what I've been talking to you about, but [I've] been doing some changes to some of the names. You used to know me by my old name which is just down here [indicating name in the slide] 'Mark Guyula' and the name with the 'Y' ... I can't use at the moment because of a relative or a family member that has passed away with the same name as mine... so I've changed it and I call myself, or you can call me ... Ṉäkarrma Djuwarr'miny and theres another name just beneath it that's call Mawunhuwa - there the names I've been given and these are the names that as I grow older, gain in knowledge, taking up leadership and we are given these names - when we are born"
"Next week, I'll start to explain and ... I'll take you up further level of education in Yolŋu knowledge systems ... and then I'll be able to explain to you: this is not just looking pretty, the dolphins jumping up and down in the water and the names written up here, these names they are there on purpose, and they are my name and they talk about the totem, the names that I have - certain areas of land and certain places where I can use those names and who can use certain images for their totem..."
"... this is where I'm teaching you from, here in the heart of Milliŋgimbi community..."
"... that you call yourself the water, you call yourself the tree, the plant, you call yourself the cloud - and that spirit and understanding comes through songlines which people learn and understand - that's what we'll be talking about this sememster"
"We'll be talking about... Ḻäy-guranhamirr rom [which] is about hunting and sharing the catch of the day when everybody goes out, brings back food and starts sharing because you feel you're part of family and you've been through that system..."
"... so that's what we'll be teaching you about ... further levels of sharing, and why you share and how you got the habit of sharing food, clothing and other stuff that we hunt and get ... when we come back home, how do we have to share? Is it because we're kind? There are systems and there are rom and rules that we abide by because we are all related with the clan, with the country and everybody else."
"Wetj ... we'll be learning about that ... we'll by talking a lot about differences between Ḻäy-guranhamirr rom which is as you walk along and you see people sitting down, its always from the heart, from the best of your knowledge ... the way you've been raised ... in a Yolŋu culture that it is a way of life to share. ... The word wetj is another way... that you always give, give, give and never ask for anything. We have learnt to give and give always, share and not to beg ... and not to ask for anything ... that wetj ... there is a lot to it"
"Some of the powerpoints you might have seen before, but to it, there's always a different story, it is chipping away, always chipping away at the edge, bit by bit of the strong culture ... of the strong rich and powerful culture that we belong to, that we are made of."
"Here [indicating picture of man collected mud crabs] we can see the food that is being collected to feed people, but deeper in you start to learn where to get them, you start to learn how to get them, you start to learn who is allowed to go and hunt certain foods, when are you allowed to go and hunt certain food, and in songs and ceremonies [indicating picture of people engaged in ceremony] who is to conduct ... dances, who is allowed to participate, who is allowed to play clap sticks and who is allowed to paint people, what is the design of the painting you must put on - they are the different levels of education ... what are the types of designs and paintings, and the steps of songs and ceremonies ..."
"... and no doubt some of you are friends that can help [with] how we can cope, learn and survive ..."
"Yolŋu culture is slowly coming to a grinding halt but we need to lift it up and carry it on again - the ceremonies, the songs and dances and the way of life, how our people live and how our children learn stories."
"I'll be putting up a one hour ... powerpoint presentation ... every week as I go along ... the reason we want to do this is we want to tell world, we want to tell people: 'we are here, we've been here'. How can we educate one another? How can we help one another? How can we solve a problem together and be happy on both sides?"
"I would very much like to see what more you would like to learn, and why are you here? ... why did you want to learn the Yolŋu culture? ... and what do you expect to get from it?"
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