Last week twenty-five Martu and ten people from Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa, Martumili Artists, the National Museum of Australia (NMA), Prime Minister and Cabinet, and Puntukurnu Aboriginal Medical Service (PAMS) went on a seven day trip out on Martu country.
The aim of the trip was to visit sites along part of the Minyipurru (Seven Sisters) songline, located north of Punmu. During the trip oral histories of people’s pujiman (bushman) travels through the area were recorded, while Martu artists who were participating on the trip painted works focusing on the country, the Minyipurru or the trip itself. The inclusion of younger rangers on the trip, not only provided the women rangers with a chance to run a long trip independently of the male ranger groups but also provided opportunities for the elders to pass knowledge and stories to younger Martu.
The trip covered almost 600km of remote country, most of which was completely off-road with no track whatsoever. The convoy consisted of ten vehicles, carrying all the provisions for the week including almost two tonne of water. During the trip there was thirteen flat tyres. A slight annoyance but a good chance for the women rangers to practice their split-rim changes!
The team managed to ground-truth four named water sites on the trip, including one site that had not been visited since pujiman days.
It was a fantastic trip and a valuable opportunity for younger Martu to learn from their elders.