2005 Milpirri - Jardiwarnpa


Lajamanu, Northern Territory 

November 12, 2005

Speak to the land...

The strength and hopes of the elders and youth of Lajamanu come together in a powerful performance.
Milpirri draws together the oldest and the most recent of Warlpiri Culture in a promise of growth and rejuvenation.

Milpirrirli kanganpa jirrama-jangka jinta-kurra yirrarni, nyurruwiyi-warnu manu jalangu jarra yapa-kurlangu jukurrpa yungurlipa mardarni manu kanyi kamparru tarnngangku.

In the desert, when the hot and cold air merges, a Milpirri storm cloud forms, creating rain. The Milpirri is something we move towards with hope and anticipation of growth, and new life.

Marnangkarrarla kaji-pala warlungku manu warlykangku warlpangku jinta-jarrimi Milpirrirlilki kapala yirrarnilki ngapa wiriki nganti kajilipa-nyanyi Milpirri yanirlipa nyanungu-kurra pinagku yungurlipa marda rarralypa miyarluju nyina

Speak to the land and the land will speak back.

Wangkayarla nguruku, kapungku pina wangkami.

Two-way cultural sharing

Since 1988 artists of Tracks and artists and community members of the remote Aboriginal community of Lajamanu (950 km from Darwin) have been working together to create extraordinary performance events. Together they travelled dreaming paths into some of Australia’s remotest land, and have toured to local and national festivals. It has been a long-term two-way cultural sharing in which deep relationships have been built and respect and understanding gained.

The Themes for this year's Milpirri have been drawn from various elements of the Jardiwarnpa ceremony. The skin groups were colour-coded in order to make the relationships more visible to the outside eye. The one-night performance had approximately 200 performers – from primary school children, young men and women, to the men and women Elders. It contained 16 sections, (8 traditional, 7 contemporary, and one fusion piece that brought the contemporary and traditional together), culminating in a new representation of the core of the Jardiwarnpa ceremony (representing atonement and reconciliation, a place for the entire community to move forward from).


Milpirri - “Invitation to join in”

In the desert, it is the coming together of the cool and the warm air that Milpirri, the rainstorm cloud, is formed. A key to our future and our survival, Milpirri is the promise of better things to come; the rain, new growth and nourishment of our culture. 

Pilapakarnu (Waterbirds) - Manyuwarna (Celebration)

(Jampijinpa, Jangala / Nampijinpa, Nangala custodians – Blue)
With the coming of the rain, floodplains provide a feast of colour, activity and celebration.
Traditional men’s purlapa - Kalingkajurrunpirri (Fairy Martin)
Traditional women’s yawulyu - Ngapa
Female Youth story interpretation of Pilapakarnu
Male Youth story interpretation of Pilapakarnu

Warlawurru (Wedgetail eagle) - Mardani (Protection)

(Jungarrayi, Nungarrayi / Japaljarri, Napaljarri custodians – Yellow)
The wedge-tail eagle protects his country, inspiring the Warlpiri nation, our families and our community, to learn how to care for everything that is precious to us.
Traditional men’s purlapa - Pulawanti (Whistling Kite)
Traditional women’s yawulyu - Katangka (Long Haired Rat)
Female Youth story interpretation of Mardani (Protection)
Male Youth story interpretation of Mardani (Protection)

Wardapi (Goanna) - Purami (Guidance)

(Japanangka, Japangardi / Napanangka, Napangardi custodians – Green)
At the time of a young man’s initiation ceremony, mothers exhort their son to be guided along the straight track - following in the footsteps of those proven to be wise, and not distracted and deceived by goanna holes, which seem to promise good tucker, but actually may hide great danger.
Traditional men’s Purlapa - Wardipi (Goanna)
Traditional women’s yawulyu - Wardipi (Goanna)
Female Youth story interpretation of Purami (Guidance)
Male Youth story interpretation of Purami (Guidance)

Wampana (Spectacled Hare Wallaby) - Jintanka (Unity)

(Jupurrula, Jakamarra / Napurrula, Nakamarra custodians – Red)
The journey of a wallaby joins paths with that of an emu. Because the two travel together in unity, with a common direction, their travelling is blessed with rain that provides all their needs in abundance.
Traditional men’s Purlapa - Wampana (Spectacled Hare Wallaby)
Traditional women’s yawulyu - Wampana (Spectacled Hare Wallaby)
Female Youth story interpretation of Jintanka (Unity)

Jardiwanpa Dance & Ceremony (Atonement and Reconciliation)

Finalé: The preceding song cycles culminate in a selection of parts of the Jardiwarnpa atonement and reconciliation ceremony. This ceremony enables the four major groupings of the Warlpiri skin system to settle disputes and work out differences. It is often called the “Fire Ceremony”. This ceremony has been revitalised and updated after nearly 30 years of being absent from community life. The ceremony allows the community to start afresh, with strength and hope and a renewed commitment to the traditional Warlpiri values that are embedded in the song cycles that have been performed this evening.
Song: ‘Desert People’, a fusion of songs sung by the North Tanami Band and Elders of the Lajamanu Community, and performed by the Lajamanu Community.

Atonement and Reconciliation Ceremony performed by the four main skin group leaders

Creative Personnel

Creative Director: Steve Wanta Jampijinpa Patrick
Artistic Co-Directors: Tim Newth, David McMicken and Lajamanu Elders
Producers: Tracks Inc and Lajamanu CEC
Traditional Informants: Jerry Jangala Patrick, Teddy Jupurrula Morrison, Myra Nungarrayi Herbert, Gladys Napangardi Kelly
Youth Choreography: Nick Power, Jessica Rosewarne
Assistants to Steve Patrick: Tristan Japanangka Tasman, Maxwell Japanangka Tasman, Donavan Japanangka Paddy, Rene Napangardi Dixon and Lynette Napangardi Tasman
Concept Assistant: (Lance) Alan Box

Banner Design Owners: Joe Japanangka James, Jerry Jangala Patrick, Teddy Jupurrula Morrison, Myra Nungarrayi Herbert, Gladys Napangardi Kelly, Tim Jupurrula Kennedy, Peter Japanangka Dixon, Lindsay Jungarrayi Herbert, Leslie Jampijinpa Robertson, Norman Jampijinpa Kelly, Dick Japaljarri Raymond, Jacko Jakamarra Gordon and Thomas Jangala Sampson.
Space Preparation: Lajamanu Council and CDEP workers

Soundtrack Production: Matthew Cunliffe
Desert People – Jardiwarnpa Mix: North Tanami Band with Lajamanu Elders
Musical Assistance (Lajamanu): Maria Maher
Lighting / Technical Director: Matthew James

Poster Image and Design: Mark Marcelis
Stills Photographer: Rob Carter
Film Documentation: Todd Williams and Ian Redfearn
Film Editor: Kate Riedel
Project Management Assistance: Sue Mornane, Suzanne Fermanis (Tracks Inc) Frank Atkinson, Louise Carey and staff (Lajamanu Community Education Centre) and Lajamanu Traditional Custodians


Jangala, Jampijinpa, Nangala and Nampijinpa (Blue Group)

Senior Men: Jerry Jangala Patrick, Toby Jangala Martin, Thomas Jangala Sampson, Peter Jangala Raymond, Norbert Jampijinpa Patrick 

Senior/Traditional Women: Liddy Nampijinpa Miller, Patsy Nangala Herbert, Angeline Nampijinpa, Nita Nampijinpa Patrick, Raylene Nangala Jigili

Traditional Men: Liam Jangala Patrick, Tony Jampijinpa Sampson, Scotty Jangala Patrick, Edmond Jangala Kelly, Dion Jangala Anderson, Tarrpa Jangala Patrick, Francis Jampijinpa Patrick, Francis Jangala Lovegrove, Matthew Jangala Walker, Alistair Jampijinpa Jigili, Steven Jangala Robertson

Male Youth: Virgil Jampijinpa Robertson, Michael Jampijinpa Box, Jameson Jampijinpa Box, Aiden Jampijinpa Kelly, Clinton Jampijinpa Kelly, Sean Jangala Patrick, Todd Jampijinpa Hector, Kealyn Jampijinpa Kelly, Michalis Jangala Sampson, Desmond Jampijinpa Robertson

Female Youth: Jessica Nangala Patrick, Janice Nangala Burns, Felicity Nangala Robertson, Marsha Nampijinpa Robertson, Levina Nangala Sampson, Simaira Nampijinpa Kelly, Joyce Nampijinpa Hargraves, Eva Nangala Ross, Latoya Nampijinpa Hector, Revona Nampijinpa Cooke, Trixie Nangala Patrick, Rachache Nampijinpa Jigili

Japangardi, Japanangka, Napangardi and Napanangka (Green Group)

Senior Men: Alec Japangardi Tasman, Joe Japanangka James (dec), Peter Japanangka Dixon

Senior/Traditional Women: Maisie Napangardi, Gladys Napangardi Kelly, Emma Napanangka Morrison, Rene Napangardi Dixon, Gloria Napangardi Dixon, Lynette Napangardi Tasman, Selma Napanangka Tasman, Denise Napangardi Tasman, Madelaine Napangardi Dixon

Traditional Men: Tristan Japanangka Tasman, Maxwell Japanangka Tasman, Dillon Japanangka Gordon, Max Japanangka Gordon, Nathaniel Japangardi Miller, Warrick Japangardi Miller, Anton Japangardi James, Donovan Japanangka Paddy, Anthony Navo Japangardi Rex, Dylan Japangardi Miller

Male Youth: Callum Japanangka Scobie, Caleb Japanangka Patrick, Gerald Japanangka Robbo, Gerard Japanangka Scobie, Mohammed Japangardi Langdon, Nicky Japanangka James

Female Youth: Deandra Napanangka Burns, Sophia Napanangka Paulson, Ainsley Napanangka Moketarinja, Katelyn Napanangka Moketarinja, Janita Napangardi Gordon, Shekirra Napangardi Robertson, Margaret Napangardi Johnson, Macala Napangardi Donnelly, Remeika Napangardi Patterson

Japaljarri, Jungarrayi, Napaljarri and Nungarrayi (Yellow Group)

Senior Men: Dick Japaljarri Raymond, Lindsay Jungarrayi Herbert, Roger Japaljarri Jurrah

Senior/Traditional Women: Alice Napaljarri Kelly, Judy Napaljarri Walker, Lily Nungarrayi, Margaret Nungarrayi Martin, Biddy Nungarrayi, Myra Nungarrayi Herbert

Traditional Men: Mike Jungarrayi Doolan, Bevan Wiji Jungarrayi Rose, Mitchell Jungarrayi Rose, Breadon Jungarrayi Payton, Rohan Jungarrayi George, Winston Japaljarri Gibson, Isaiah Jungarrayi Lewis, Breadon Jungarrayi Hogan

Male Youth: Rohan Jungarrayi George, Tyson Jungarrayi Rose, Jonas Jungarrayi George, Gareth Jungarrayi Rose, Rhys Japaljarri Gibson, Nathan Jungarrayi Timms, Ananias Japaljarri Tasman Gibson, Corey Jungarrayi Raymond

Female Youth: Alarna Nungarrayi Gordon, Anna Napaljarri Nelson, Erlinda Nungarrayi McDonald, Shantelle Napaljarri Nelson, Tiana Nungarrayi Simon, Samara Nungarrayi Rennie, Tara Napaljarri Barnes, Rekkeisha Nungarrayi Rose, Michelle Nungarrayi Timms, Renata Nungarrayi Gordon, Rayneisha Napaljarri Rose

Jupurrula, Jakamarra, Napurrula and Nakamarra (Red Group)

Senior Men: Teddy Jupurrula Morrison, Tim Jupurrula Kennedy, Henry Jakamarra Cooke, Victor Jupurrula Simon

Senior/Traditional Women: Molly Napurrula Tasman, Liddy Nakamarra Nelson, Beryl Nakamarra Herbert, Rosie Napurrula Tasman, Stella Nakamarra Dixon, Cheryl Nakamarra Dixon, Jenny Nakamarra Timms, Noressa Napurrula White, Mavis Nakamarra Lewis, Laura Nakamarra Doolan

Traditional Men: Bobby Jakamarra Kennedy, Titus Jupurrula White, Sebastian Jakamarra Simon, Bohas Jupurrula white, Shane Jupurrula White, Jeff Jakamarra Simon, Anton Jakamarra Simon, Gregory Jakamarra Simon, Quincey Jakamarra Samuels, Adam Jupurrula Cooke

Male Youth: Dermott Jupurrula Cooke, Jake Jakamarra Patterson, Patrick Jakamarra Paterson, Dion Jakamarra Patterson, Yami Jakamarra Simon, Zac Jakamarra Patterson, Benjamin Jakamarra Patterson, Jared Jakamarra Ross, Keiran Jupurrula Dixon, Jaswyn Jupurrula Dixon, Mike Jupurrula Patterson

Female Youth: Azaria Nakamarra Ross, Sybella Napurrula Sampson, Connie Napurrula Dixon, Antasia Nakamarra Simons, Tara Nakamarra Patterson, Kirsty–Anne Napurrula Simon, Megan Nakamarra Patterson, Leonara Nakamarra White, Leilani Napurrula Walker

Tracks 2005

Artistic Directors: David McMicken and Tim Newth
Company Manager: Sue Mornane
Dance Animateur: Julia Quinn
Bookkeeper: Julie Stark
Development Consultant: Suzanne Fermanis

Committee Members:  Jackie Wurm (Chair), David Taylor (Vice-Chair), Glenn Bernardin (Treasurer), Sonia Brownhill (Secretary/Public Officer), Ken Conway, Donna Quong, Jill MacAndrew (Ordinary Committee Members), David McMicken and Tim Newth (Ex-Officio Members)

Public Fund Trustees: Rev. Steve Orme, Dr Anita Toth, Paul Wan



Explore Further

Lajamanu/Milpirri Home Page

Milpirri Banners

Milpirri Dances - Videos

Iconic Tracks Works

2007 Milpirri - Kurdiji

Audience Response

"You have all the kids here. I cannot say anything to you. You are alright." Yuendumu Elder to Lajamanu Elder

"... very happy for the new "public corroboree". We need to stir up all the song lines before us old men forget them so that they can be used in future performances. I want to see another big corroboree soon, before we old people are finished up. Granites would be the best place.” Lajamanu’s oldest Traditional Custodian

"send a copy of the video to all of the Warlpiri communities and encourage them to do as Lajamanu has done. I am looking forward to when the whole Warlpiri nation will perform down at Chilla Well."

"Just like the first drop of rain landing in a billabong pushes out ripples from the centre, so the ripples from MILPIRRI are lapping into every part of community life for the good of Lajamanu, the Warlpiri nation, and ultimately for the Commonwealth of Australia. Here are the first splashes of genuinely meaningful reconciliation; a ceremony creating a healing interface between Traditional Custodians and the contemporary milieu.
The MILPIRRI Tracks dance event was a wonderful experience that I will remember for a long time. All participants should be congratulated for their performances … the children and the young adults were exceptional. You certainly have many talented students at the school."

"That was the biggest event that ever happened in our Community and everyone was excited and proud of each other."

"The MILPIRRI was something really good for younger people. It means a lot to our fathers and uncles. I think it is something we have to keep going."

Participants Responses

"I enjoyed practicing the dances with all the girls. It was great and made me feel good. The performance worked well because everyone joined in.
In MILPIRRI Show was all the people and all the kids dancing. People think we are the best dancers. MILPIRRI makes me happy."

"I learnt about traditional dancing from the female elders, and about my culture from my grandfather while we were painting and talking about the blue banners. I enjoyed dancing and doing the paintings because it made me feel proud of myself and my father and grandfather. The whole performance was magnificent because everyone looked perfect and beautiful."

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