Mapping Yintakaja (Waterholes)

This year Martu Elders, KJ Rangers from Punmu, Kunawarritji and Parnngurr, as well as family members from Bidyadanga participated in four mapping trips focusing on the northern parts of Martu Country.  

In April, our first trip was based at Paru, where Muuki Taylor was supported by a mixed team of Punmu Rangers and some other participants from Bidyadanga. The team spent two days mapping before heading back to Punmu. Two days later in Kunawarritji, Kumpaya Girgiba mapped her with her grandson, Clifton Girgiba, this time supported by the Kunawarritji Rangers.

In May, a larger camp was help at Mulyarlkirri with Punmu, Kunawarritji and Parnngurr Rangers supporting Thelma Judson and Yikartu Bamba while they mapped country.  One highlight of this trip was the relocation of Milkarra jurnu (soak), the site where Thelma's father passed away.  This site is very important to Thelma's family and artefacts, including a hand axe, was found nearby. The following day, the rangers and family members on the trip drove over 100km off-road to make a track to the site and began the arduous job of cleaning it out.  Rangers are now planning to return to Milkarra to finish cleaning it out and to search for Thelma's father's grave. This will be a fantastic trip for the rangers and there is much excitement about it.

For our final mapping sessions, Waka Taylor travelled to Punmu to map for a few days with the support of the Punmu rangers. 

In all twenty-eight sites were located during these trips and this information will be added to the KJ waterhole database (WANYJA).  All participants in the two off-country trips had a chance to visit sites located during the trip by chopper and during day trips by vehicle.  The rangers and participants visited almost twenty sites by vehicle, making tracks to sites located during the mapping sessions and visiting other sites that were previously known.  Other land management activities included ground-burning and recording sign of mankarr (greater bilby).

Thanks to all participants, especially those Elders who came out camping and mapping, and special thanks to the Pilbara Development Commission, Royalties for Regions and BHP, who helped fund the trips. Helicopter mapping is one of the few avenues left to comfortably and safely allow Martu Elders to access remote areas of Martu Country, which also allows KJ to record much information for the benefit of future generations of Martu.