Glossary Of Terms

Aboriginal Arts Centres: A community based and owned organisation which represent the artists, usually located in remote areas

Aherr: Kangaroo in Alyawarr language

Alawa / Galawa: Language group from Arnhem Land in Northern Territory

Almarra: White person

Alyawarr / Alyawarre: Language group from the area northeast of Alice Springs, Northern Territory

Amurdak / Amurdag: Language group near Oenpelli, Northern Territory

Anangu: Western Desert term meaning Aboriginal person

Anmatyerr: Language group to northwest of Alice Springs, bordering Arrernte and Alyawarr groups

Antarrengeny: Utopian homeland

Arnkerrth: Mountain devil lizard in Anmatyerr language

Arnwekety: Bush plum in Anmatyerr language

Arrernte: Language group in Central Australia

Awelye: Women’s ceremonies and associated designs in the central desert area (Amnatyerr language)

Balanda: The name given to a non-Yolngu person. It originated from the Macassan word Belander translating to ‘Hollander’ for a white or Dutch person

Banumbirr: Refers to the poles used in the Morning Star Ceremony in Yolngu-Matha culture. Also refers to the planet Venus 2

Barama: Yirritja ancestor beings

Bardi: People from the area north of Broome and parts of the Dampier Peninsular in the Kimberley region of Western Australia

Bäru: Crocodile ancestor spirit in Yolngu culture

Bima: The first woman in Tiwi creation story, wife of Purukuparli.

Bininj Kunwok: A name used for a chain of six mutually intelligible dialects which exist in the Top End and Arnhem Land

Birriwinjku: The name Kunwinjku speakers give themselves, meaning ʻfresh water people ʼ

Buku-Larrnggay Mulka: The art centre at Yirrkala. Meaning ʻfeeling on your face as the first rays of sun touch it’

Bula’bula: The art centre at Ramingining. Literally translates to the tongue or voice of the kangaroo. Garrtjambal the red Kangaroo is the area ʼs principal creative being.

Bunuba: Language group from the Kimberley, Western Australia

Burarra: Language spoken in Arnhem Land

Burralku: Island of the dead, a mythical place to the east of Buku-Larrnggay

Clan: Group of people who are related by descent and hold certain rights in common, particularly relating to land.

Corroboree: Aboriginal ceremony

Dalabon / Dangbon: Language group belonging to the Arnhem Land plateau

Dätiwuy: Clan of the Miwatj region

Dhalwangu: Clan of the Miwatj region 3

Dhamilingu: Blue-tongue lizard in Mitwatj

Dhany ʼyi: Language from Arnhem Land

Dhudi-Djapu: Clan of the Miwatj region

Dhukung: A sceptre used by Yirritja people in ceremonial occasions to uphold the law of the land.

Dhulang: Cross hatching in north east Arnhem land, also rarrk

Dhuwa: One half of the Arnhem Land moiety system, which divides all aspects of society and natural phenomena into two halves, the other is Yirritja

Dhuwala / Gupapuyngu: Language of the Gupapuyngu People, Northeast Arnhem Land

Didjeridu: A wind instrument developed in northern Australia (also didgeridoo)

Dird: Moon in Kunwinjku language

Dirrnu: Cross hatching in Wadeye region, also rarrk

Djambarrpuyngu: Language group of Elcho Island

Djang: The sites associated with ancestral beings ʻDreaming places ʼ

Djang ʼkawu / Djan ʼkawu: Ancestral beings from Burralku, part of the very important narrative belonging to the Dhuwa group

Djapu: Clan of the Miwatj region

Djarrwark: Clan of the Miwatj region

Djinang: Yol ŋu language, spoken in the Northern Territory.

Dreamtime: A nebulous term which appears to have been introduced by anthropologist Baldwin Spencer. It is best understood as the reality of the spirit world existing in the past, 4 the present and into the future. It refers to Aboriginal cosmology, encompassing the creator and ancestral beings, the laws of religious and social behaviour, the land, the spiritual forces which sustain life and the narratives which concern these.

Gadiya / Kardia: Term for non-indigenous people used in northwest of Australia

Gagudju: A language considered extinct, formerly spoken in Arnhem Land (also Gaagudju, Gagadu, Gaguju and Kakadu)

Galpu: Clan from northeast Arnhem Land

Ganalbingu: Magpie Goose or swamp people from Arafura Swamp near Ramingining

Ganinyidi: Name for digging stick from Arnhem Land

Garrimala: A billabong nein the Dhawau clan homeland at Gaga. A sacred site for Galpu clan

Garrtjambal: Red Kangaroo ancestor being from Arnhem Land

Gija: People of the East Kimberely area of Western Australia (also, Gidja and Kija)

Gooniyandi / Guniyandi: Language spoken in Fitzroy Crossing, Western Australia

Gulparemun: Yirritja ancestor being

Gumatj: Clan of the Miwatj region

Gupapuyngu: Language group from northeast Arnhem Land

Gurirr Gurirr: A set of stories that were told to artist Rover Thomas by a female spiritual ancestor in a dream. The stories evolved into the ceremony, a series of ʻchapters ʼ of dance, song, music and painted boards that depict aspects of the woman ʼs stories.

Gurrgoni: Language group from Arnhem Land (also, Guragone, Gorogone, GunGuragone, Gunagoragone, Gungorogone, Gurrogone and Gutjertabia) 5

Gurrumartji: Name for Magpie Goose in Central Arnhem Land

Guwak: Koel Cuckoo ancestral being from Mangalili clan

Gwion-gwion: Also called Bradshaw Figures, one of the major regional traditions of rock art in the northwest Kimberley region of Western Australia

Hollow log coffin: Painted and hollowed out tree trunk used as burial vessel in Arnhem Land

Iwaidja / Iwaja: Language group originating on the Cobourg Peninsula, but now spoken on Croker Island

Jilamara: Tiwi word which translates to ʻdesign ʼ

Jukurrpa: Relates to ancestral beings and the places and times associated with them in the central desert area (Warlpiri language)

Karik Karik: Term of the Boorong people of northwest Victoria for Scorpius constellation

Koori: Term used to describe Aboriginal people of south east Australia

Kriol: A creole language that developed during white settlement, initially in New South Wales. The language moved west and north with the movements of Aboriginal stockmen, but largely died out. It is still spoken in the Northern Territory.

Kukatja: A language spoken by Balgo people in Western Australia

Kulama: A Tiwi ceremony celebrating life which is performed at the end of the wet season. The ceremony incorporates ritual body painting, singing, dancing and yam-eating

Kunbarlang: A language spoken in the Northern Territory

Kune: Language from northeast Arnhem Land

Kunibídji: Traditional landowners of Maningrida in central Arnhem Land 6

Kuninjku / Kunwinjku: The language groups in Western Arnhem Land

Lalai: Term for the creation period or dreamtime in the Kimberley, Western Australia

Lany ʼtjung: Yirritja ancestor beings

Limmen: Squid ancestral spirit being, the custodian or guardian of the reef of the Elcho and Wessel Islands

Liyagalawumirr: Language group from Arnhem Land, translates as ʻpeople with bark over their heads ʼ referencing bark shelters.

Lorrkkon: A hollow log coffin that contains the bones of a deceased person and has been painted with the designs of the related deceased

Luritja: A term to refer to several dialects of the Western Desert language

Luurnpa: Warlpiri name for red-backed kingfisher

Macassan: Fishermen and traders from Sulawesi in Indonesia, who visited the northern shores of the continent until the early twentieth century

Madarrpa: Clan on the shores of Blue Mud Bay, east coast of Arnhem Land

Malirri: Term for clapsticks from central Arnhem Land

Mamarrarra: Kimberley term for ʻdream travelling ʼ

Mäna: Yolngu Shark ancestor

Manggalili: Clan of the Miwatj region

Manjoringunjg: Traditional clan of the Gunabalanya region

Mardayin: A major secret and sacred ceremony which is associated both the Dhuwa and Yirritja patrimoieties 7

Marntimapila: One of the four skin groups of Tiwi culture, meaning ʻstone ʼ

Marradjirri: A ceremony performed in Arnhem Land by one group to another, to establish good relations and to strengthen kinship and economic ties.

Marrakulu: Clan of the Miwatj region

Marrngu: Possum ancestor being from Arnhem Land

Maung: Language group from Goulburn Islands, near the coast of northeast Arnhem Land

Mawalan: The walking sticks carried by Djan ʼkawu in the Dhuwa creation story

Maypal: Yolngu word for shellfish

Mengerr: Clan which is traditional owners of Injalak

Mildjingi: Clan from Arnhem Land

Mimih Spirits: Tall, thin and mischievous creatures that inhabit the rocky escarpment of Western Arnhem Land. They are regarded as precedents to humans having taught humans to hunt and instructed them on important cultural matters. Mimihs often appear in bark paintings, rock art and sometimes as wooden sculptures.

Miny ʼtji: The sacred rarrk or crosshatching designs in Central and North East Arnhem Land art

Mirarrmina: The waterhole home to Wititj the Olive Python in the Wagilag Sisters narrative

Miyartiwi: One of the four skin groups of Tiwi culture, meaning ʻpandanus ʼ

Miyinga: Ceremonial scars on the body in Tiwi culture

Mobuditi: A Tiwi term which means ʻspirit of the dead ʼ

Moieties: In Arnhem Land all things belong to one of the two balancing halves of the world (moieties); Yirritja or Dhuwa. They are a pair of complementary social and religious 8 categories. Dhuwa must marry yirritja, and yirritja must marry dhuwa. Children belong to the same moiety as their father; and as their land, language and totems. Their mother belongs to the other moiety.

Mudukundja: A Wessell Island term for a hollow log coffin

Mudungkala: The central figure in the Tiwi creation story

Mulka: Yirrkala term for sacred but public ceremony

Munyuku: Clan of the Miwatj region

Murri: Term used to describe Aboriginal people of Queensland and northern New South Wales

Murrirri: Gumatj clan ancestors

Nakkara / Nakara: Language group from Arnhem Land

Namarrkon / Namarden: Lightning spirits who are viewed as the children of the rainbow serpent, Ngalyod, in Western Arnhem Land. They inhabit the landscape and their presence is especially felt during the thunderstorm season (October to December)

Ndjébbana: Language spoken in and around Maningrida

Ngak Ngak: White Breasted Sea Eagle ancestor being

Ngalakan / Ngalakgan: Language formerly spoke in the Roper River region in the Northern Territory

Ngalyod: Known in English as the Rainbow Serpent, it is the protector and creator of all djang or secret places. It has powers of creation and destruction and is associated with the monsoon season, rain and rainbows.

Ngandi: A language from the Wilston River, Northern Territory which is now considered extinct. 9

Ngarinyin: Also, Ungarinjin or Eastern Worrorran, is a declining language of Western Australia.

Ngarrangkarni: Term for dreaming in Warmun region

Ngaymil: Clan of the Miwatj region

Ngumbur: Language spoken in Arnhem Land

Ngwampen: In Ampilatwatja ʻa new and fresh approach ʼ to depicting land and culture

Nunga: Term used to describe Aboriginal people of South Australia

Nunggubuyu: Also known as Wubuy or Tingwira, a language group in the community of Numbulwar, Northern Territory

Nyigina / Nyikina / Njingina: Language group of Western Australia

Nyoongah: Term used to describe Aboriginal people of south west Australia

Ochre: Natural earth pigments many of which have spiritual qualities. Used with a natural binders for painting on bark, rock and body

Outstation: Small settlements of family members and kin established by Aboriginal people on their traditional lands, generally associated with significant cultural locations

Palawa: Term used to describe Aboriginal people of Tasmania

Palga: Narrative ceremonial dance cycles practiced by the inhabitants in the East Kimberleys

Parlku: ʻthe grass growing on the slopes of hills ʼ – in Kukatja language

Pitjantjatjara: A dialect of the Western Desert language spoken by people of the Central Australian desert 10

Pukumani: Burial ceremony performed to ensure the safe departure of the spirits of the deceased and burial rites of Tiwi people.

Pwoja: Traditional Tiwi painting comb and designs

Rainbow Serpent: See ʻNgalyod ʼ

Raki: string used for basketwork

Rangga: The most sacred of ceremonial objects

Rarrk: Cross hatch patterning, usually found in painted barks of Arnhem Land and can be read to identify different clans of Arnhem Land

Rembarrnga: Language spoken in the Roper River region

Rirratjingu: Clan of the Miwatj region

Rraman: The term for the fluff used to decorate objects in Dhuwa

Rrandjini: The term for the fluff used to decorate objects in Yirritja

Rupiya: Yolngu word for money, introduced by the Macassans

Takaringuwi: One of the four skin groups of Tiwi culture, meaning ʻmullet ʼ

Terra Nullius: The legal concept, that Australia was ‘unoccupied country’ before colonisation

Tingari: Group of ancestral beings shaped the law and culture in central desert area

Tiwi: Language group both on Melville and Bathurst Islands

Tjukurrpa: Relates to ancestral beings and the places and times associated with them in the central desert area (Pintupi; Pitjantjatjara)

Trepang: sea slugs 11

Unggud: Name of the rainbow serpent ancestor in Kimberley

Uturupa: ʻBig sand hill ʼ in Alyawarre, from which Utopia possibly derives its name

Wagilag Sisters: The Wagilag Sisters are creation sisters, they walked across the land and created the landscape. Also, Wagalak and Wagiluk

Walmajarri: Language group from Great Sandy Desert area

Wangarr: Term that Indigenous people of Central and Eastern Arnhem land use to refer to themselves

Wangkatjungka: Language group of Central Kimberley

Wangurri: Clan of northeast Arnhem Land

Wanjina: Ancestral beings of the Kimberley who control the elements and maintain fertility in humans and other natural species, also spelled Wandjina

Wantarringuwi: One of the four skin groups of Tiwi culture, meaning ʻsun ʼ

Warlpiri: Language group from area north and west of Alice Springs

Warnindilyakwa: Indigenous people from Groote Eylandt who speak Anindilyakwa

Warramiri: Djangu language group of the Yirritja moiety

Wayayi: Curlew Bird ancestor figure from Tiwi Islands creation story, associated with death

Wirrili: Gumatj clan ancestors

Woonambal: Language group from Kimberley region

Worrorra: Indigenous group of North East Arnhem Land

Wungurr: Name for rainbow serpent in Kimberley 12

Wuningak: Dialect of the Giimbiyu language, formerly spoken in Arnhem Land, also Urningangga

Wunumbal: Language group from near Derby, Western Australia

Wurlaki: Dialect of the Djinang language from Arnhem Land

X-ray: Style of art showing internal organs of animals

Yalangbara: A culturally significant clan estate, where Rirratjingu people were born and where Djang ʼkawu ancestor women were born.

Yankunytjatjara: Language belonging to Western Desert Language (also, Yankuntatjara, Jangkundjara, Kulpantja)

Yarrpany: Dhuwa honey story

Yawkyawk: Meaning young woman, the composition often takes on a fishlike shape. It is said that the yawkyawks were once devoured by the rainbow serpent and then spat out again to become water spirits and communicators between the real and spiritual worlds.

Yiminga: Term for skin group of Tiwi culture

Yirrinkiripwoja: Term for body paint in Tiwi culture

Yirritja: One half of the Arnhem Land moiety system which divides all aspects of society and natural phenomena into two halves, as in Yirritja and Dhuwa

Yolngu: The term that Aboriginal people of Central and Eastern Arnhem Land use, to refer to themselves. It is not the name of a language group or clan but rather a generic term and means human being.

Yurlunggurr: Giant Olive Python in Arnhem Land mythology.