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Map of the area west of Alice Springs. The Pintupi homeland is centred on Lake Mackay (Wilkinkarra).

Pintupi is an Australian Aboriginal group who are part of the Western Desert cultural group. Their homeland is in the area west of Lake MacDonald and Lake Mackay in Western Australia. This is a very remote part of Australian desert. Because of this, the Pintupi were among the last Aboriginals in Australia to leave their traditional way of life. Most of the Pintupi were displaced (forced to leave) their homeland in the middle the 20th century, because of sti testing being done at Woomera. They were moved into settlements to the east and west of their country, such as Papunya, Balgo, Haasts Bluff and even as far away as Hermannsburg. They ended up scattered into different communities. Within a few years, several hundreds of Pintupi had died from foreign disease and infection.[1] Others had problems with alcoholism and violence – having lived in small groups for most of their lives, they found it hard to deal with conflict.

During the 1960s, the assimilationist policies of the Menzies government had a major effect on the mentality of many Pintupi. Part of the policy led to hundreds of Pintupi children being taken away from their parents and put into missions or foster care (this is now known as the Stolen Generation).

Beginning in the 1970s, there was a strong push within the Pintupi community at Papunya to return to their historical lands. They moved back west in 1981 to set up Kintore (Waḻungurru). Further west, Kiwirrkurra was founded in 1983, close to Lake Mackay.

Skin groupings[change | change source]

The Pintupi have a complex kinship system, with eight different skin groups. Males and females have different prefixes ("Tj" for males, "N" for females). These names define kinship relationships. They dictate who can marry whom. Although they may be used as terms of address, they are not surnames in the sense used by Europeans.[2][3]

Gender Skin name Can marry only Children will be
Male Tjapaltjarri Nakamarra Tjungurrayi, Nungurrayi
Female Napaltjarri Tjakamarra Tjupurrula, Napurrula
Male Tjapangati Nampitjinpa Tjapanangka, Napanangka
Female Napangati Tjampitjinpa Tjangala, Nangala
Male Tjakamarra Napaltjarri Tjupurrula, Napurrula
Female Nakamarra Tjapaltjarri Tjungurrayi, Nungurrayi
Male Tjampitjinpa Napangati Tjangala, Nangala
Female Nampitjinpa Tjapangati Tjapanangka, Napanangka
Male Tjapanangka Napurrula Tjapangati, Napangati
Female Napanangka Tjupurrula Tjakamarra, Nakamarra
Male Tjungurrayi Nangala Tjapaltjarri, Napaltjarri
Female Nungurrayi Tjangala Tjampitjinpa, Nampitjinpa
Male Tjupurrula Napanangka Tjakamarra, Nakamarra
Female Napurrula Tjapanangka Tjapangati, Napangati
Male Tjangala Nungurrayi Tjampitjinpa, Nampitjinpa
Female Nangala Tjungurrayi Tjapaltjarri, Napaltjarri

Related pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. Myers, Fred (November 1988). "Locating ethnographic practice: Romance, reality and politics in the Outback" (PDF). American Ethnologist. 15 (4): 609–624. doi:10.1525/ae.1988.15.4.02a00010.[permanent dead link]
  2. "Kinship and skin names". People and culture. Central Land Council. Archived from the original on 2010-10-11. Retrieved 2009-10-23.
  3. De Brabander, Dallas (1994). "Sections". In David Horton (ed.). Encyclopaedia of Aboriginal Australia. Vol. 2. Canberra: Aboriginal Studies Press for the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. p. 977. ISBN 978-0-85575-234-7.