Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Warlpiri Culture

The Warlpiri are an aboriginal tribe in the Northern Territory of Australia. There are approximately 3,000 Warlpiri people spread throughout Central Australia today. This blog will provide information about:

Enjoy and feel free to leave comments! :)

Monday, April 21, 2014





  • ·         Creation Magazine
Volume 8 Issue 2
Published March 1986
48 Pages
What the Warlpiri Aborigines Believe About the Origin of Everything By: Laurie Reece
Article pages 36-38

  • ·         Warlpiri Dreaming and Histories: Newly Recorded Stories From the Aboriginal Elders of Central Australia
Translated by Peggy Rockman Napaljarri and Lee Cataldi
  •      The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Hunters and Gatherers
By: Richard B. Lee and Richard Daly

Academic Journal:  

  • The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology
    • Indigenous Diaspora and the Prospects for Cosmopolitan 'Orbiting': The Warlpiri Case Pages 304-322 By: Paul Burke (2013)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Warlpiri Cultural Survival

Culture is beautiful and unique. Each and very different culture have stories to tell and learn from and give insight on a whole new outlook on life. Because of this, it's increasingly important to keep these cultures alive and thriving. The Warlpiri people are keeping their culture alive through the use of arts and language.


In the past, the Warlpiri people would express themselves through art on wood, sand, and even the body. The art told stories and was a means of documenting important events throughout the community as well as their use in celebrations and rituals such as ""kurdiji" mentioned in a previous post (Warlpiri Cosmos). Nowadays, body painting is still used in rituals, but also has moved into modern day times with the use of paints and oils on canvas, still telling the story of long ago stories and ancestors.


Warlpiri is one of the largest aboriginal languages in Australia with approximately 3,000 people still speaking it today. As with any language, the elders are always afraid that as their offspring get older, the ancient language will one day be forgotten and put to rest. This is not the case of the Warlpiri. Lately, the young Warlpiri members have more than embraced their native language and have created a new version of it called "Warlpiri Rampaku" or Light Warlpiri. To get this new creation, children have combined their own Warlpiri language with bits of English and even Kriol thrown in. What started out between children has now spread to even older adults in the tribe and has grown in number of speakers tremendously. It is stressed that Light Warlpiri is not a mashing of languages together, but the creation of a whole new language with noun and verb structures from it's parent languages. I have provided a video below for further explanation:


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Warlpiri Migrations and Diaspora

While researching about Warlpiri diaspora and migration, I came across a fantastic article in The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology entitled Indigenous Diaspora and the Prospects for Cosmopolitan 'Orbiting': The Warlpiri Case. This article was written by Paul Burke in 2013 and had incredible information pertaining to this exact topic for this blog post.

It has been found that not a significant number of Warlpiri people have migrated out of the country of Australia, with only a few artists and businessmen in exception to this but usually only as a temporary diaspora. Many will migrate away from their ancestral homeland, but will stay in the country as their permanent diaspora, and through my research I've found four reasons a Warlpiri native would choose to migrate.


Since the 1980's alcohol and the drinking lifestyle has been strictly prohibited on the Walrpiri home settlements. Some people will move off of the ancestral ground in order to pursue a drinking and partying lifestyle in nearby towns free from the constrictions of their home.

Marriage and Education: 

I was going to break these two up into two different paragraphs, but either one I decided to tackle tied in with the other. On the subject of education, Warlpiri children can be sent away to boarding school where they are introduced to a whole different world outside of their settlements, enticing them to stay away from home permanently. One of these enticing reasons could be finding a mate outside of his or her culture/settlement, marrying, and deciding to settle where the other spouse is from. Also, in order to ensure that their children will have an excellent education, a Warlpiri native may move away from the settlement and into a nearby town where the child will get adequate schooling. This is moreso a voluntary diaspora.

Involuntary Diaspora:

In some instances, a diaspora may not be a voluntary act. In the cases of medical issues and aging elder care, the resources needed for them may not be available in the home settlements. Also, if a person is convicted of a crime and sent to jail, they would be involuntarily leaving their home settlement to serve time for their crime.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Warlpiri and Their Neighbors

The Northern Territory of Australia has a population of approx. 233,300 people. There is no information to hint that the Warlpiri have any significant contact with any of their neighbors. All that could be found was that with diaspora, intermingling between the Warlpiri natives and those of the towns around them have been increasingly frequent. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Birds of the Warlpiri

There doesn't seem to be an immense tie with the Warlpiri and the birds of their land except for the fact that they exist around them. The birds that have been seen around the community of Yuendumu have been documented on eremaea.com and with a little bit of research, I've also found some information on each of the birds along with the aboriginal name for them. All of the ones that have been documented are listed below, along with a picture of each.

  • Wedge-Tailed Eagle: 
    • Aboriginal Name: Bunjil
    • Facts:
      • Largest Bird of Prey in Australia
      • Has long broad wings, a diamond shaped tail and feather covered legs
      • Found in Australia and New Guinea
      • Reach heights of 5,900 ft and sometimes even higher for unknown reasons. 
      • Eyesight so advanced it reaches into the ultraviolet and infrared band. Also helps them see thermal which helps hunting prey.


  • Crested Pigeon:
    • Aboriginal Name: Gulawuliil 
    • Facts:
      • Found widely throughout Australia
      • Mostly grey with brown and green
      • Slender black spike on the top of it's head
      • The call resembles a "whoop" noise. 
      • Lets off a beating/whistle noise as it takes off
      • Breed in the warmer months


  • Rainbow Bee-eater: 
    • Aboriginal Name(s): Birrubirruu, Beerin-Beerin, or Berringa 
    • Facts: 
      •  Found throughout Australia as well as Indonesia, New Guinea, and sometimes the Soloman Islands.
      • Extremely colorful birds with areas of gold, red, black, green and blue.
      • Eats bees, wasps, dragonflies, beetles, butterflies and moths. 
      • Usually breed in Summer and both parents incubate the eggs.


  • Brown Falcon:
    • Aboriginal Name: Kirkinpa
    • Facts:
      •  Found in Australia, New Guinea, and Tasmania
      • Scruffy, large head, long legs and small feet. 
      • Mostly brown with reddish tint with a white belly.
      • Loud cackling call but also has a quieter call with clucks and croaking.
      • Hunts from a perch. 


  • Galah:
    • Aboriginal Name: Gilaa
    • Facts:
      • Rose colored head and body with a paler pink tip of the head. 
      • Spend the day in shelter keeping out of the heat.
      • Most familiar parrot in Australia
      • Found in large noisy flocks. 
      • Will partner up for life, but if the partner dies, the galah will take another mate. 
      • Up to 50% of chicks die in the first six months of life. 
      • Funny sounding call which inspired the Old Australian derrogatory term of the same name meaning "loud-mouthed idiot." (Just a little fun fact!)

  • White-Plumed Honeyeater: 
    • Aboriginal Name: N/A
    • Facts: 
      • Yellow, black, white and grey markings. 
      •  Found in open forest, woodlands, and bushland
      • Feeds on nectar, insects, fruit and seeds 
      • Has several "song flights" throughout mating season.


  • Black-Faced Cuckooshrike: 
    • Aboriginal Name: Gunidjaa
    • Facts:
      • Body is blue-grey 
      • When flying, will flap their wings for a few times, then hold them close to their body for about two seconds, resulting in them losing some altitude, making them look as if they're bobbing. This is where "cuckoo" in the name comes from.
      • The call has been compared to a flute and a purr. 
      • Feed on insects (caterpillar and other invertebrates are listed as an example.) , and also fruits and seeds.

  • Pied Butcherbird: 
    • Aboriginal Name: Pititjaku-Pititjaku
    • Facts: 
      • Younger are usually duller than the adults. 
      • Found throughout Australian mainland except for farther south. Not present in Tasmania. 
      • More often heard than seen
      • Aggressive feeders. Survive on small reptiles, mammals, frogs,  other birds and large insects.
      • Female is responsible for incubating the eggs as the male and other birds in the group feed her.


  • Black-Faced Woodswallow:
    • Aboriginal Name: Tjalputi
    • Facts: 
      • The adults are smokey grey/brown with a partially black face,
      • The young are mainly brown with lots of streaks and a pale brown beak. 
      • Found out in the open and often far from water.
      •  Also found in open woodlands. 
      • Usually survives on a diet of insects and nectar.


  • Willie-Wagtail: 
    • Aboriginal Name: Ilpurpura
    • Facts:
      • Have three subspecies
      • Gets it's name from wagging the tail back and forth horizontally while on the ground looking for food. 
      • Aggressive and territorial demeanor
      • Will often harass much larger birds.


  • Magpie-Lark:
    • Aboriginal Name: Tiil-Tiilpa
    • Facts: 
      •  Adult male has distinctive white eyebrow and black face (as pictured below)
      • Female has all white face with no eyebrow
      • Nicknamed the "Peewee" because of it's unique call. 
      • Despite the name, has no ties to magpies or larks.


  • Torresian Crow:
    • Aboriginal Name: Kaanka
    • Facts: 
      •  White eyes with fine blue ring. Very glossy black body
      • Also known as the Australian Crow
      • Short, staccato call
      • Will eat dead animals and mostly grain. Will also eat fruit, insects, eggs and garbage.


  • Zebra Finch:   
    • Aboriginal Name: Nyii-Nyii
    • Facts: 
      • Likely to be kept in captivity by pet owners, and researchers. 
      • Lives on average five years in it's natural habitat but can reach approx. 12 years in captivity.
      • Will breed any time of the year, but usually only after a great amount of rain. 
      • Very loud calls. A "meep" or "beep" sound.