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The Yams from Waputarli and Yumurrpa


by Yulyulu Lorna Napurrurla, Lajamanu, 1984

translated from Warlpiri with Barbara Gibson Nakamarra (1984, 1995) and edited for the CD-ROM Dream trackers (UNESCO, 2000) by Barbara Glowczewski


Waputarli got a snake. 

In Yumurrpa, too, there is a big snake...

wiyarrpa, ngarlajiyi nyinaja Jukurrpa

Poor one, Yam Dreaming was sitting there. He went underground in Waputarli.


Yarla, Puurda, the big yam and wapirti, the little Yam fought each other.


The battle

by Janjiya Herbert Nakamarra


The Wind brothers
by Pupiya Louisa Napaljarri, Lajamanu,1984

translated from Warlpiri with Barbara Gibson Nakamarra and edited for the CD-ROM Dream trackers (UNESCO, 2000) by Barbara Glowczewski

Coming from far away, two Mayawunpa Brothers walked eastwards. On their way, at Kurkurmindi, they changed their skin and called themselves Japaljarri as they were coming into our tribal territory. That's how my Dreaming has crossed several tribes. But I will only tell you their story in my country, the place where I was conceived, at Malamala, in the West.

At Malamala a group of small kids were hiding in a cave. As they approached, the two brothers were calling out for those kids. They stretched out their hands towards them, a sign of invitation. We call that gesture malakari and that's why that place is called Malamala. There is another site on the way of this Wind Dreaming with the same name. That's because the Wind Brothers always held out their arms to greet those they met on their way. But the little children refused to come out of the cave.

The two brothers continued on their way westwards accompanied by an old woman, their mother. They stopped to camp. She sits away from them and says to her sons
'Eh, you two! Go and get some meat!'

The old mother stays in the camp to collect some seeds, watiyawarnu and jirrpirinypa, which she grinds to make some damper.

2. Cannibals

Out hunting, the two brothers hear some shouting from far away.
'Who might be calling there?'
'Could be the signal to gather the sisters of a marlulu.'

They return to the camp and call out
'Mother! Come here!'

The shouting can be heard once again. No doubt about it any longer, these are the songs of the kurdiji Ceremony.
'Eh you two! Open your ears!' says the mother.
'What do you hear there, mother?'
'Listen, this is coming from the west...'

The two brothers start walking in that direction. They lit a big bush fire around the place where the women dancers’ ritual calls were coming from. The fire suffocates all the participants. Overtaken by the flames, they burn.

That was when I was burnt as well, since I had been dancing with my sisters. The two Wind Brothers burnt me alive. The people of my tribe were there, close to the rockhole. They were singing and dancing to initiate their boys. Then the two strangers lit a fire on the country and killed the men and women of my tribe. Afterwards they dug a grave to roast all the bodies.

They ate that human flesh, throwing the bones all around the skulls, the vertebras, the ribs and so on, and they brought the flesh to their mother.

'But what have you been doing for so long?' she asked them.

They did not answer but invited her to eat the meat, the human flesh. She ate it and died.

3. Giants

The two sons left westwards looking for other humans to eat. At the Luwarnu waterhole, they see a big group of people but they don't go any closer. They collect little onions janmirda to eat.

The women of Luwarnu had gone hunting. When they were coming back home, they noticed the two strangers and called out
'Oh, look at those two men, they are really gigantic!'
'There is one I will reserve for me only!'
'And the other one will be for me!'

All the women would have liked to go with the two giants. They don't care about who they are, what their skin name is and whether a love affair with them would be against the Law.
'Come on, big sister. We are going to stay with them!' says the one who saw the two strangers first.

And the two sisters go to join the giant brothers. They bring little yams for them. They eat them together, then they go to sleep. Later on, in the night, four other women come to sleep with the younger brother. As for the older one, hundreds of women wanted him!

4. Whirlwind

This is the Wind Dreaming two whirlwinds were approaching, crossing different countries and when they stopped, they changed into two giant men.
'That's good,' a woman from Luwarnu said, 'we are going to stay married with these two men.'
'No! You all, find yourselves your own men!' said the one who had been with the younger one first.

It all turned out differently, though. After having satisfied their desires, the women went back to the camp and another group took their place with the men. But when the two brothers felt contented they changed into whirlwind again and took all the women away. They turned over, rolled over, turned over, killing all of them by the force of their breath. Then the whirlwinds turned into a gigantic Rainbow Snake which sank into the ground at Wawulja.












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  • Elisabeth Ross Nungarrayi transcript (transcription)
  • Robyn Lawson Napurrurla (personal notes)

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  • Movie(s) ID 70078 Jukurrpa: Lorna Napurrurla (Connie Napurrurla) recounts story of Wapurtarli (Mt Singleton area) (recorded 3/4/84); Louisa Lawson Napaljarri recounts Mayawunpa kurruwalpa at Malamala (Jakamarra/Jupurrurla) associated with Marnikiji-parnta. Also mentions Yanjilypiri (star) Dreaming, and Patanjarrngi seed Dreaming (recorded 9/4/84)
    File BGwlptape01_1984side1b.mp3
    Layer Elisabeth Ross Nungarrayi transcript
    Type transcription
    Owner Mary Laughren

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