Arabana people

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Arabana, also known as the Ngarabana, are an indigenous Australian people of South Australia.


The older tribal autonym was Ngarabana, which may have been misheard by white settlers as Arabana, the term now generally accepted by new generations of the Ngarabana.[1]


Arabana, like Wangganguru with which it shares a 90% overlap in vocabulary, is a member of the Karnic subgroup of the Pama-Nyungan language.[2]


In Norman Tindale's estimation, the Arabana controlled some 19,500 square miles (51,000 km2) of tribal land. They were present at the Neales River to the west of Lake Eyre, and west as far as the Stuart Range; Macumba Creek. Southwards their lands extended to Coward Springs. Their terrain also took in Oodnadatta, Lora Creek and Lake Cadibarrawirracanna.[1]

The neighbouring tribes were the Kokata to the west, with the frontier between the two marked by the scarp of the western tableland near Coober Pedy. To their east were the Wangkanguru.[1]

Social organisation[edit]

The Arabana were divided into hordes, whose respective territories were called wadlu.

  • Jendakarangu (Coward Springs)
  • Peake tribe
  • Anna Creek tribe[1]

Alternative names[edit]

  • Ngarabana
  • Arabuna, Arrabunna, Arrabonna, Arubbinna
  • Arapina. (Iliaura pronunciation)
  • Arapani
  • Urapuna, Urabuna, Urabunna, Urroban
  • Rabuna (an occasional Aranda pronunciation)
  • Wangarabana. ([a term reflecting a word woqka /wagka meaning 'speech')
  • Wongkurapuna, Wangarabunna
  • Nulla
  • Yendakarangu[1]



  1. ^ a b c d e Tindale 1974, p. 210.
  2. ^ Shaw 1995, p. 23.