Academic journal article Australian Aboriginal Studies

Mutawintji Handback, 5 September 1998

Academic journal article Australian Aboriginal Studies

Mutawintji Handback, 5 September 1998

Article excerpt

Exactly 15 years after Wiimpatja (Paakantji for `Aboriginal people') blockaded the entrance to the Mootwingee Historic Site for the week of the Broken Hill centenary celebrations, a ceremony was held at Mutawintji to celebrate the passing of the Mutawintji (Mootwingee) National Park land title to the Aboriginal owners, to be held on their behalf by the Mutawintji Local Aboriginal Land Council. The New South Wales government has negotiated a 30-year lease and appointed a board of management which will have a majority of Aboriginal owners and also representatives of Mutawintji LALC, National Parks and Wildlife Service, conservation groups, local government and neighbours.

People came to celebrate from all over Australia, including Uluru, North Queensland, Flinders Ranges and especially the southeast. We were welcomed by dancers who were themselves welcomed with a smoking ceremony using kalthika (`emu-bush') because they were bringing the first didgeridoo to Mutawintji. And we were welcomed in words, including the following Paakantji words from Warlpa Thompson, a young title-holder who participated in the blockade and who has been working at Mutawintji for several years with the NPWS Discovery Program run by the Mutawintji LALC:

Ngayi!

Hello!

Paliirra yuku ithu. it's a good day

ngiinkina paliirramarri ithuna kiirrana we are here at this special place

ngamakaayi ngamakaama wiimpatjakuana kiirrang ka ithu this is my mother's mother's people's land

kiirrinana mirrimpilyiminina our country makes us happy

minha Wiimpatjaalpi warli ngimpa? can you be like us Wiimpatja?

yurrila kiirrari, maarima kiirrari thinking and caring about the land

kila Wiimpatja thurlakmaku kiirrakiirrinana us Wiimpatja don't exploit our land

karnmatjurta kiirrinana you stole our land

manthatjina wapitjurta ngininari we waited for you to give it back

ithu kiirra murta kiirrinana ngiinkatjina this place is just part of what we had

mirrikana wapitjurtili ithu kiirrinana

Mutawintjinana getting Mutawintji back is a start

paliirra parripatjina maarimamilana it's good that we are moving towards reconciliation [caring for one another]

pulapulitjatjurta you invaded

yurrilurtili Wiimpatjari now you recognise us Wiimpatja

Wiimpatjaku mathirri kiirra watutina kalypu soon we will have our sovereignty [much land]

waturrina kiirra, mirrimpilyiminanari when we get our land it makes us happy

maarimamilapina Wiimpatja warli ngina caring is our Wiimpatja life

ngukamilapina Wiimpatja warli ngina sharing is our Wiimpatja life

paliirra ngiinkina ngarratja paliirra kilrrana it is good that we are here together at this special place

He then sang a traditional song about the place he is named after, Pirntiwarlpa to the north of Mutawintji. …

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