Talk:Warlpiri people

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Song about Mission(Yaloogarrie) Creek[edit]

The song is called "Down at Mission Creek where the Tjakargerries grow" . Does anyone know where to find a copy of this song? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:03, 9 July 2016 (UTC)

Long grassers[edit]

I've never heard this thing about 'long grasses', can anyone confirm that this is correct? And I think the history of contact with the Warlpiri is pretty clear, by 1980 all Warlpiri were living in communities. And I doubt there are any that don't speak 'a word of English'--even the oldest people would have at least some English. Dougg 10:46, 19 July 2005 (UTC)

More eyes needed[edit]

A lot of items in this article seem suspicious to me, but I'm not confident enough to correct it. I wish a few more people would come in and contribute.

In the language section, for example: I thought Warlpiri had clear relationships and partial mutual intelligibility with Warumungu and Warlmanpa. I hadn't heard about similarity to Luritja. And the story about this "causing confusion" seems a bit incoherent. More work, please. ACW 16:27, 19 July 2005 (UTC)

•You're right, there's some peculiar things in there--a lot of work needed. While I'm not a Warlpiri specialist (more Western Desert) I'll get out my references and try to fix it up as soon as I have some time. You're right that Warlpiri is more closely related to Warlmanpa and Warumungu than to Luritja, but they're all distinct languages so not mutually intelligible, although that's somewhat confused because of widespread bilingualism. Dougg 06:28, 29 July 2005 (UTC)

The reference to long grasser is incorrect. "Long grassers" refers to Aboriginal people who camp in the long grass surrounding urban areas such as Alice Springs and Katherine. It has no association with references to the long grass of the bush (which doesn't really make sense anyway). Warlpiri, in particular have often been referred to as long grassers because in towns such as Alice Springs and Katherine there has been in recent years a significant influx of people from Warlpiri communities. Often this influx has been associated with substance abuse (mostly alcohol) and significant social issues. As such there is a negative connotation to the term "long grasser".

you are wrong there are many natives in the northern territory who cant speak english, maybe they might know a word or two, but many cant speak enough to communicate more than basic concepts, such as the wish for a smoke or to beg some money.. normaly they will know just a term as "two dollah" or "one dollah" and hold out their hand,, you "yoogatsmok" without actualy undersanding the full use of these words in english.. most natives who grew up after the mid 1970s can speek enougth english to get by , but even then the bulk of the native population living in settelmens in the bush proably wouldnt be able to read the frint page of a news paper and maybe would only speek english once or twice a month.. as there is few english speakers in the settelments..

longgrasser is a term that does not apply to all blackfellahs.. and it is also not a term specificaly of race, as there is a lot of white longgrassers aswell. longgrassers can be found all over,

it is hard to define a longgrasser from the other natives.. i would say more it would be correct to say black longgrassers are natives who are not living togeather exsclucivly in their tribal unite , but are mixing with other ethnic groups from different areas and are then not belinging so exsclucivly to their original tribe,

many times in the towns like kathrine and darwin and gove, ect ect,, they are aboriginals who have leat their settelment due to a dispute or threat of punishment for some crime as black magic or having sexual relation with persons from a different "skin" that they should be or for stealing spouces and such.

there is very few young longgrassers and most younger natives prefer to reside among their tribal group.

although on a abboriginal settelment the natives of that area might act in all appearence like longgrassers many time,, id say if they re in their tribal homeland and among their tribal group then they would not be seen as such by them selves or by other australians,, white longgrassers however are all ways seen as a longgrasser weather they living among a tribal group along or weather they are living in the long grass around a town or city. as they are breaking the normal habit for people of european race.

however a man who lives among the natives is not allways called a longgrass, as there is a good deal of mean who live with the blackfellahs but who still work and dress as a typical australian but have a aboriginal wife. these men generaly differ greatly from the white longgrassers and will not be found with the semi nomadic aboriginal longgrassers but only among aborigines living in their tribal units.

the name longgrasser comes from the long gras or spear grass that grows in northen australia the term is unknown in southern australia ,

the term comes from the fact that the longgrassers would push the gras flat and sleep on it with only a sheet or such and it makes a nice bead,, , when they wake you can see them commuing out of the grass along the side of the road, hence they are people who live in the grass, most re primarily drinking, maybe a small percent are not. many of the white longgrassers are convicted felons and drug ddicts or alcoholics,, and quite a good few are felons fleeing from criminal charges, they then teach the aborigines bad habits , such are improved begging techniques and incite them to try to steal, in general the black longgrasser is more inclined to rink that to commit any crimes of theft. aside from drinking the alcohol on the shelf in the supermanket,, they are not typicaly more likely to steal than any other australia, as their primary interest is drinking and hanging around not monetary profit, and with a 4 liter box of goon costing about 10$ they can drink all day on the wealfare payments they receive every 2 weeks

the white longgrassers however are typicaly disposed to commit some form of oppertunistic crimes and robberies and are prime candidates for shop lifting and petty theft from houses and property crimes.

hope this is make some information clear about this topic. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:13, 1 November 2008 (UTC)

Removed section[edit]

"The Warlpiri people are often described as "long grasses" by other Central Australian Aboriginal people, due to the fact that they were amongst the last groups of traditional aboriginal peoples to be brought in to white society. Stories are that some "long grass" Warlpiri did not meet whites until as late as 1980. Many Warlpiri, unlike people from other aboriginal language and community groups, do not speak even a word of English.
Many Warlpiri people to this day live out in the bush, using the various communities as a base only, and they live more traditionally than perhaps any other aboriginal people."

This section had been removed from the article - its usual to move removed sections of articles to the talk page. Cfitzart 06:38, 18 October 2005 (UTC)

Okay, sorry, I didn't know that. I thought the fact that previous versions of articles are available through the 'Page history' was enough, but I'll remember to do this in future. Dougg 03:09, 19 October 2005 (UTC)

'Warlpiri designs'??[edit]

I think this section is strange and half-baked. The designs described are not unique to the Warlpiri, but are found across a large part of Australia. It's also a very long-winded and obscure description of a very common thing. I propose that it be removed. Maybe it could be put in Australian Aboriginal art, which could do with more information on traditional designs, rock-carving, etc. Dougg 02:10, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

I agree. Every time I come by I look at that section and waffle between removing it entirely and trying to fix it. I think I'll remove it. ACW 02:53, 26 March 2006 (UTC)
OK, I removed it. Here it is. If you want to put it back, please let's talk about it here first.
Warlpiri design is a form of inscription that operates differently than most familiar forms or writing. The design includes neither phonological symbols that combine to record speech, nor pictorial glyphs that would represent specific objects or ideas. In its entirety, it proposes a combination of the two. It does provide pictographic symbols that are recombined to express ideas and things, but it abstracts elements so combined and reduces them to comparatively few. The design does attempt to provide lexicons that associate the symbols with words or even with broad semantic domains prove unsuccessful and misleading. The design relies on fairly discrete inventory of graphics that includes circles, dots, lines, semicircles and other simple shapes. These symbols are often combined in ground paintings, body decoration, and special ceremonial objects. These objects along with the symbols are often painted or carved into rocks or in caves. The mean idea to the Warlpiri writing is that they provide ideas and objects in their writing rather than a form of speech.
Reference: The Anthropology of Globalization edited by Jonathan Xavier Inda and Renato Rosaldo


I added a fairly extensive section about the Warlpiri kinship/subsection system. I feel like I didn't quite nail it, and I might worry at it a bit more in the near future. More eyes are, of course, very welcome.

What I somehow didn't manage to say is that in traditional Warlpiri culture, it's really subsections that are considered primary, not actual family relationships. You can argue that the Warlpiri word that's usually translated "brother" doesn't really mean "brother", but rather means "another male in the my subsection". All one's actual brothers will of course be classificatory brothers, but Warlpiris don't assign great importance to the distinction. See? I'm still having trouble saying it. Anyway, I might whack at it a little more; please do likewise. ACW 03:11, 26 March 2006 (UTC)

I don't think it's correct to say that subsections are primary. Warlpiri have family relations and it is indeed these relations that are primary. Rather it is that subsection names are a shorthand notation for a series of classificatory relation that bind and determine social behaviour. Each Warlpiri assumes particular ways of relationg to a father, a maternal uncle, a mother in law, a wife, and there are also subsection names which place all walrpiri in a family relationship and to some extent require Warlpiri to behave as if that person was there uncle or their mother in law. They do, though, know the difference between an actual brother and a classificatory brother (although the distinction is certainly more blurry than in Western kinship constructions).--campdog 06:45, 26 July 2006 (UTC)


Somebody please look up proper bibliographic cites for Meggitt's Desert People and Bell's (?) Daughters of the Dreaming. It's getting a little embarrassing typing all this stuff in as if we're pulling it out of our rears. ACW 03:11, 26 March 2006 (UTC)

OK, I did this a few days ago. ACW 22:24, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

Errors with kinship system?[edit]

I worked out the kinship relations using the rules given and there appear to be two false statements in the text.

  1. First, it's claimed that the proper subsection of the spouse is one's maternal grandmother. But in fact that should read paternal grandmother. It's easy to prove the current statement is incorrect: You are in the same matrimoiety as your mother, and the opposite one as your father, so father & mother (ie spouses) must be in different matrimoieties. But your grandmother is the same matrimoiety as you, hence you could not marry someone from that subsection.
  2. The other error is the statement that some 1st cousins are marriageable -- namely your father's sister's kid, or your mother's brother's kid. This doesn't seem to work out: Suppose it did, and consider a daughter X of a couple who were such cousins (XM and XF). XM's mother's brother's son is XF, her husband. So X's maternal grandmother (XMM) is a sibling of X's paternal grandfather (XFF), therefore they (XMM & XFF) must be in the same subsection. But from the rules one is clearly in the same subsection as one's paternal grandfather. Hence X is in the same subsection as XFF. But that's just the what I disproved in #1.

I'm not familiar with the actual Warlpiri customs, so does anyone know which is wrong -- these 2 facts, or the basic kinship rules given? Or did I make a mistake somewhere?

Also, it would be good to add a graphical representation of the inheritance. A 2-column, 4-row grid of subsections does this. The basic rules are then:

  • One is always in the same row as one's father, and the same column as one's mother.
  • If you're in the left row, you're directly above your mother; in the right row, and you're directly below your mother.

From these rules, the only marriages allowed are between subsections situated on the same rising (lower-left to upper-right) diagonal line.

I'd put something like this in if folks verify that #1 & #2 above are really errors.

--Damgo 01:41, 15 October 2006 (UTC)

Kinship table[edit]

I found the description fairly hard to understand so I've added a table which I think shows the interrelationships of the different subsections as described. I still can't say I quite understand the system though. ☸ Moilleadóir 06:54, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

Unusual Greeting[edit]

Although there seems to be a lot of conjecture about a certain intimate greeting performed by men of the "Walibri tribe," I haven;t come across anything close to a reliable reference stating that members of this tribe shake members. Read more about this unexplained penis story on the many Google results.--OrinR (talk) 08:26, 8 October 2008 (UTC)

Disambiguation page[edit]

This should probably be a disambiguation page since "Warlpiri" can refer to the people and their language (by analogy with other such ambiguities; see Finnish). --N-k (talk) 15:46, 12 October 2010 (UTC)

Famous Warlpiri[edit]

Bullet point in Famous Warlpiri section: "Dorothy Napangardi, Highly respected female artist (Deceased, 2013)." Is this characterization necessary? I don't see Liam Patrick described as a "Highly respected Australian rules footballer..." Not sure if it is appropriate to remove. Lily.r.s (talk) 23:55, 16 February 2015 (UTC)
This struck me too as somewhat unusual, possibly patronising, and even meaningless (highly respected by who?). I came here to comment on that, so I am glad to see some else already noticed this. (talk) 07:48, 22 July 2015 (UTC)