Amazing work by Nick Rodway for Mongabay "WEST KIMBERLEY, Australia — November marks the end of the dry season in the Kimberley, the northernmost region of Western Australia, the country’s largest state. As the monsoonal rains start to fall, the country comes alive with the cries of red winged parrots (Aprosmictus erythropterus) and the Fitzroy River begins to run. Stretching more than 700 kilometers (435 miles), the Fitzroy River is one of Australia’s most powerful waterways, a free-flowing system that passes through range, savanna and desert country to empty into the Indian Ocean each year. Anne Poelina, a Nyikina Warrwa traditional Indigenous custodian of the river, said it’s her duty to care for the Martuwarra, the river’s original and enduring name. “Martuwarra is a living, ancestral being,” she said. “It has a right to life, to live and to flow. We live by an obligatory law to protect the River of Life. It is the essence of our spirituality, identity, culture and law.” The river was granted National Heritage Listing in 2011 due to its spiritual, cultural and environmental values. Native title, a federally recognized titling to traditional Indigenous lands and waters, is now held along the entire length of the river, the first time land rights have been held across an entire catchment area in Australia." Read the full article here Continue reading
Our new Paper Out! So much planned destruction for Martuwarra River Country that no one wants to know about let's hope we start listening soon folks we are running out of the "Circle of Time"... Read here
Sharing a film of what is happening in our Lucky Country with a fair go for a few? Multispecies Justice for Land, Living Waters and Our Wellbeing Warloongarriy is the law for the Martuwarra Fitzroy River. From the top of the catchment to the bottom, it is a song and a map. It is place-based governance. This is the First Law, law of the land, and refers to living a relationship of integrity and ethics with the nature that surrounds us. It sings all the nations along the River into coexistence and respect in trade, travel and customs. It is the law to sustain the wellbeing of everything around us and is therefore sacred. Senior Elder Paddy Roe explains European people can't understand our Law, because they've got a different law. Ours is from Bookarrarra. We try to explain these things to them and they don't know what we're talking about. Because that's from Bookarrarra. It's from Bookarrarra. But its different law, different law from White man law. Different. Different altogether. Continue reading
You can learn a lot about a culture by understanding the language and which words have been given meaning.In Nyikina culture there are two systems of personal relationships - direct family and skin.Within the direct family, the same word is used for your mother and her sisters, this is the same for your father and his brothers, and all of their children are your siblings.We also have specific names for our grandparents which plays an important part of the skin system. The skin system informs you on how you relate to the wider community and visitors. Children are the same skin as their Kamirda and Karloo. Continue reading
These are the sounds of Nyikina Nganka.The example English words contain the closest equivalent sounds to Nyikina.‘rd’ is like how people from the USA pronounce ‘card’.‘rr’ is almost a soft ‘d’ sound. Like when Italian people say ‘Maria’The ‘k’ sound in Nyikina is halfway between the English ‘k’ and hard ‘g’ sounds.Similarly the Nyikina ‘b’ sound can also sometimes be closer to ‘p’, as in ‘spell’.A special thank you to Jeannie Warbie, Lucy Marshall, Gracie Mulligan, Virginia Westwood, Colleen Hattersley and all who contributed to ‘Birramana Nyikina Nganka’ and ‘Birr Nganka Nyikina’. Continue reading
Learning a First Language can be hard as the spelling changes with each different linguist.We have tried to make it easy by providing a phonetic option.Nyikina people belong to Mardoowarra, the lower Fitzroy River. This first collection of words focuses on Booroo, Country.You may find some similarities between Yaruwu and Warrwa as they come from the same protolanguage. Continue reading
PROTECT OUR HERITAGE
We are excited to announce we have limited availability merchandise with a donation. Following the success of our "Joe Nangans Dreaming" film night at Sun Pictures in Broome, we have made available what limited merch we have left to the general public. Please follow this link to learn more about the range.
Cr Pat Riley, represents our communities in the Derby Shire. She is a strong advocate for health and water quality, as Pandanas Park her community faces nitrate and e coli water poisoning. Pat is also committed to raising awareness of issues such as housing, family support and jobs in the communities of the Shire, and whilst on Council works to see these concerns raised in an effort to improve the future of our young generations.
Dr Anne Poelina is a Nyikina Warrwa woman who belongs to the Mardoowarra, the lower Fitzroy River. She is an active community leader, respected human and earth rights advocate, filmmaker and highly qualified academic, with two Doctorates of Philosophy (PhD), three Master degrees and two undergraduate degrees. For the past 30 years Anne has focused on the development of multimedia resource kits for the Nyikina language, including the Nyikina dictionary which ensures the preservation and promotion of Nyikina language and culture. Ann is the chair of the Martuwarra Fitzroy River Council, a collection of Elders and young leaders from the tribes connected to the Mardoowarra. This alliance of Traditional Custodians have come together to stand with One Mind and One Voice, to protect the River from invasive development. The Council works with leading national and international scientists, lawyers and academics to give rights to Community and Country.
Marlikka is an emerging film Director, Producer, and Editor. As a Nyikina Warrwa and Wangkumara Barkindji Marlikka feels a deep sense of responsibility to spread awareness of First Law, the guiding principles that First Peoples generated over eons to govern the diverse bioregions within the landmass currently known as Australia. Her first project 'Concepts of Country' is a collection of short videos made in the Kimberley region of Western Australia to explain the meaning of words that are vital to living with Country. The series is being used as course content across a number of Universities and in Top Tier Law Firms, influencing the next wave of legal and academic minds of Australia. Most recently Marlikka has Directed, Produced and Edited the third season of Common Ground’s Bedtime Stories - Joe Nangan’s Dreaming. Which is adapted from the book Joe Nangan’s Dreaming. Joe was a senior Nyikina custodian of legends and law, songs and stories. The series is an example of how metaphor is used to pass down First Law in a poetic and memorable way to our future generations.
‘When you look at those sorts of stories, you see the connectivity between all of the elements, between the sky, between the Earth, between the water, between magnificent sacred sites that are in the landscape that connect our people through this ancient wisdom and these ancient stories in song.’ — Dr Anne Poelina, Nyikina Warrwa Songlines carry the first story of this land. But, with the passing of elders, the knowledge of these songlines is in danger of disappearing. AIATSIS, through its Foundation, has supported a project to record, map and maintain the ceremony of the Marlaloo songline; a songline that runs from Balginjirr to Marlaloo in Western Australia and covers a significant part of the Martuwarra (Fitzroy River). CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE ON AIATIS WEBSITE
Edwin Lee Mulligan is a Walmajarri and Nyikina artist, an acclaimed painter, poet, and performer. He has featured in numerous films, plays, dances, and in our new series he is the Storyteller of ‘Kanjiba and the Burning Coal’. Edwin grew up with a connection to both his Mothers’ and Father’s ancestral homes, stretching from the Mardowarra to the Great Sandy Desert. Edwin is deeply connected to his language and culture, which is strikingly evident in his painting and poetry. He moves easily between Walmajarri and English, relaying profound philosophy and spirituality in riveting parables and anecdotes.
‘I’m doing this out of my heart’: the fight for clean water in one remote WA Indigenous town Feature article from the Guardian regarding the drinking water situation at Pandanus Park, Nyikina country. Read article here