Luritja is the name of an Australian Aboriginal group of the Western Desert. They speak the Luritja dialect of Wati, the language of the Western Desert people. The dialect itself has several varieties. The Luritja lands include areas to the west and south of Alice Springs. The region is centred on Kings Canyon. Their neighbours are the Arrernte (east), the Warlpiri (north), the Pintupi (west), and the Pitjantjatjara (south).
In recent decades, many from this group have inter-married with Pintupi-speaking people. During the mid 20th-century, the Pintupi were forced to leave their lands and were settled into government-built stations. Papunya became a settlement for both Pintupi and Luritja. In the 1980s, many of these people moved back west to Kintore. Both communities now mainly speak a hybridised dialect known as Pintupi-Luritja.
The name luritja is thought to come from the Arrernte word lurinya, which means "foreigner". Over time younger generations have taken on the name as their ethnonym. The total population of Luritja people (including those at Papunya) is probably in the thousands. This makes them the third largest of the Central Australian Aboriginal populations, behind the Arrernte and Pitjantjatjara.
References[change | change source]
- Heffernan, John A. (1984). Papunya Luritja Language Notes. Papunya: Papunya Literature Production Centre.