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Ngaanyatjarra kids.jpg
Ngaanyatjarra children, 2006
Total population
several thousand
(less than 1% of the Australian population, more than 1% of the Aboriginal population)
Regions with significant populations
(Northern Territory)
Ngaanyatjarra language, English, Pitjantjatjarra language, Yankunytjatjara language
Aboriginal mythology

Ngaanyatjarra is an Indigenous Australian cultural group in the Western Desert, Central Australia.

Meaning and origin of the name[edit]

Ngaanya literally means "this" (that is, the demonstrative pronoun) and -tjarra means "with/having" (the comitative suffix); the compound term means "those that use 'ngaanya' to say 'this'". Some neighbouring dialect groups are the Ngaatjatjarra and the Nyangatjatjarra, who use ngaatja and nyangatja respectively for "this".


The Ngaanyatjarra people make use of the resources of the following biogeographic regions

The Western Desert cultural bloc covers about 600 000 square kilometres with diverse cultures, traditions and language groups.


Most people in the region speak Ngaanyatjarra as a first language, some people may also speak English, Pitjantjatjara, Yankunytjatjara, Noongar and other regional Indigenous languages.

The Ngaanyatjarra refer to themselves as Anangu (people). (see Western Desert Language)

The Ngaanyatjarra people are very proactive in maintaining their own language, using informal teaching[1] and music recording since 1994.[2]

Regional culture[edit]

The Ngaanyatjarra region has very diverse regional cultures.[3]


The Ngaanyatjarra lands consists of Wingellina, Blackstone (Papulankutja), Jameson, Warburton, Wanarn, Warakurna, Tjukurla, Kiwirrkura, Tjirrkarli, Patjarr, Kanpa, Cosmo Newberry.

On 29 June 2005 the Ngaanyatjarra lands were the subject of the largest native title determination in Australian history (according to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commissioner for Social Justice[4]) with a Federal Court hearing presided by Justice Black taking place on the lands between Blackstone and Warburton (specifically, 25°53′01″S 127°37′38″E / 25.8835990289°S 127.627352919°E / -25.8835990289; 127.627352919)

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

General information on the region:

Arts Organisations Websites:

Media Organisations

Links to Policy Documents: