17th National Remote Indigenous Media Festival
Lajamanu, NT | 27 September – 2 October 2015
For 5 days remote media workers and industry guests visited Gurindji and Warlpiri Country for an exciting industry program with skills workshops, roundtables, video screenings, live radio and TV coverage, music and cultural events.
Lajamanu (formerly known as Hooker Creek) is a Warlpiri community located 560 kilometres SW of Katherine on the northern edge of the Tanami Desert in the Northern Territory. With a population of around 700 people Lajamanu sits midway between Alice Springs and Darwin on the traditional country of the Gurindji people.
Geographically Lajamanu sits at the border of the desert and dry tropics. Culturally it sits at the intersection of Gurindji and Warlpiri Country.
Lajamanu (Hooker Creek) was established in 1948 when the Australian Government, deciding to establish a new settlement, trucked 25 Warlpiri people from Yuendumu 600 km north to Hooker Creek in Gurindji country. In 1951 another 150 Walpiri were relocated to Hooker Creek, taken away from their Dreaming sites and families in Yuendumu. They all famously walked back, all the way to Yuendumu, only to be trucked back to Hooker Creek. Two more resettlements and ‘walk backs’ occurred in the late 50s and 60s. Yet over the years, children were born and despite being so far from their country and its sacred places, the Warlpiri eventually started to call Hooker Creek home.
In the 1970s a most remarkable series of ceremonies occurred where the Gurindji of the nearby Wave Hill area handed over the country and its Dreaming (the Spectacled Hare Wallaby or ‘Wampana’) to the Warlpiri at Hooker Creek. That same decade Hooker Creak ceased to be a welfare settlement and the Lajamanu Council was the first Community Government Council to be formed in the NT. In 2008 the Lajamanu Council became part of the Central Desert Shire Council.
Today in Lajamanu
Traditional owners of the country, the Gurindji people, mainly live around 100km further north near Kalkarindji, Daguragu and Wave Hill. Honorary traditional owners from the Warlpiri people in Lajamanu consult with the Gurindji traditional owners on traditional governance matters.
The Central Land Council (link is external) is the land council for the community and the surrounding town area. It is responsible for matters under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act.
The Central Desert Regional Council (link is external) provides local government in Lajamanu.
The Kurdiji is a group of senior men and women from Lajamanu who are actively involved in promoting respect for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal law and justice within the community. The ‘Kurdiji’ is a Warlpiri word meaning ‘to shield, block protect or ward off’ and represents protection of the community as well as being integral to the initiation ceremonies in which young men and women are taught knowledge and respect for the law.
Members of Kurdiji welcome delegates and visitors for the 2015 National Remote Indigenous Media Festival. In your delegate handbook we will provide information about special ceremony areas which are restricted to Warlpiri people and their guests. Please do not enter these sites at any time unless invited by senior Warlpiri people.
Lajamanu has a thriving Arts Centre - Warnayaka Art
The Lajamanu Store has a great range of produce and groceries and a wonderful take away service with delicious dishes.
The Warlpiri Youth Development Aboriginal Corporation run Youth Program activities in the community.
The Lajamanu School has students from preschool right up to Year 12. The School has arts and crafts, cooking, music, a library, woodwork and computer rooms and is led by Principal Max Angew. The school was a Warlpiri-English bilingual school from 1982 to 2008 when the NT Government introduced a policy ceasing its bilingual programs. The school still focuses on a bilingual approach to education, with English as the predominant language, enriched with an early years bi-literacy program up to Year 2.
We look forward to hosting the daytime Festival program and delegate camping at the School grounds.