About Tjiwarl

We are the Tjiwarl Native Title Holders. We are many families connected by culture and country. Our vision is to keep our culture and country strong, and to create a sustainable future for our people.

What does Tjiwarl mean?

The word Tjiwarl means “something shining” in our language.

It is the name that we have for a very important and sacred site in the Barr Smith Ranges, which is also known as “Logan Spring”.

We have come to call ourselves the “Tjiwarl mob” because that was the name of the native title claim, but we are really all desert people, following the desert law.

About the native title holders

The old people for the Determination Area owned the land and they were called the Ngaiawonga people – but they had other names for themselves. Burnadjarra, Tjupan, Koara and Ngalia are some of the names we use today.

That tribe has always been there; they spoke the right language for their tribe and maintained their connection to the country. They were the people for the Determination Area and the law came from them, they laid it down and passed it on to their children and grandchildren and on to us through our connection to the old people. What was there must still carry today.

Our culture, our people

We have cultural obligations to attend funerals and not hold big meetings when there is “sorry business” on. We ask that you respect this. We follow a skin system where we relate to each other as brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers – even if we’re not directly related. We look after the country by going out bush and taking the things we need. 

Most importantly, we protect our sacred places that are linked to the tjukurrpa.

What country means to us – the tjukurrpa

The land and the tjukurrpa are the same thing. We can’t have one without the other. We feel for the land, it has a different meaning to us.

The dirt is our tjukurrpa, our culture, our heritage. Without our marnta [dirt] and our sacred places, we would not have our tjukurrpa and culture today.

The tjukurrpa is like a chain, it is a songline that stretches out across the desert. If one link in the chain is broken, then it damages the whole song. It is our responsibility to look after the tjukurrpa in our country, but people in other parts of the desert keep an eye on what’s happening. They worry about our country too!

Our journey – the Tjiwarl story

Our people have been living and occupying the Tjiwarl lands for hundreds of thousands of years.

Water is very important to us. Our ancestors went from rock hole to rock hole with their families, hunting and gathering all the way. Every year, our people meet up at important places for trade, ceremony and songs.

We are still following the tjukurrpa today. It’s very strong and we have to protect it.

The wati are the ones who carry the men’s law and some decisions can only be made by them. In the same way, the women have their own law too, and some decisions need to be made by them.