Future of Love and Land

By Salvatore Tropiano

The Land to an Aboriginal community contains inextricable spiritual and physical links to the past, present, and future generations.  The metatemporal nature of the Dreaming means that links to ancestors gone by through the Dreaming stories, dance, song, and rituals are a continuing present for the clans and communities.  The agents of love that act in an Aboriginal community are the transmission of these traditions down the generations via a strong oral tradition; as well as the love of the land in the careful maintenance rituals.

In the documentary Putuparri and the Rainmakers, Spider is determined to pass on the traditions of the Kurtal people to the young generation.  Kurtal contains a waterhole in the heart of the Great Sandy Desert in Western Australia.  In the documentary, Tom Lawford along with Spider lead an exhibition party to reclaim the Kurtal lands for their community.  The use of video footage provides evidence for their land rights claim, to determine that Spider’s people were the traditional custodians of the Kurtal land.

Traditions and rituals used include digging out the dried up waterhole by hand.  The waterhole provides clean drinking and cleansing water for these people.  They bathe and celebrate their gratitude for the water in the otherwise desolate desert.  Traditional headdress and dance are taught to the younger generations, and they soon take on the continuation and the living nature of the Dreaming.


Traditional headdress used in the dance of the Kurtal waterhole.


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