The Walpiri People

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The Walpiri People

Until settlement, the Warlpiri lived by hunting and gathering on a diet of roots, fruits, grass and tree seeds, lizards, and small marsupials, supplemented from time to time by large game in the form of kangaroos and emus.

Traditionally, shelter was provided mainly in the form of low windbreaks, but in rainy periods more substantial domed huts with spinifex thatch were used. Nowadays, most Warlpiri live in towns ranging in size from 300 to 1,200 people, most of whom are Warlpiri speakers. The core of each town includes a store from which all day-to-day nutritional and material requirements are bought, a clinic, a primary school, a municipal office, a workshop, usually a church and a police station, and a number of European-style houses.

The contemporary Indigenous Australian art movement began in the western desert in 1971, when Indigenous men at Papunya took up painting. Dorothy Napangardi became a famous female indigenous artist.

DID YOU KNOW?That famous Australia rules footballer Liam Patrick is a member of the Warlpiri people?He plays for Gold Coast

Go here for info on Warlpiri language:

Demography. Prior to colonization, it is estimated that there were around 1,200 Warlpiri. By 1976 the estimated number was put at 2,700, perhaps somewhat generously, but it can confidently be assumed that there are upwards of 2,500 speakers today. These people all have Warlpiri as their first language and English as only their second, third, or even fourth language.


The Warlpiri People of the Tanami Desert

In the past all first marriages were arranged, often when the girl was young or even before she was born. The average age difference at first marriage was 21 years, with a girl of about 10 marrying a man in his thirties.

After settlement of Australia by the Europeans Walpiri men worked on cattle farms for rations and small amounts of money

The average annual rainfall in the Tanami Desert is over 400 mm! That is a lot of rain. But the Tanami's location in the north also means high temperatures, and with that a high evaporation rate. So it still is pretty dry. Lake Gregory actually retains permanent surface water and is the main source of water for settlements in the area, wadis in the southern and eastern regions of the Tanami Desert are the base for wells which provide these areas with water.

The central concept in Warlpiri religious beliefs is jukurrpa, usually translated as "the Dreaming." This term refers to the period when the world was created, the features of the landscape made, and the pre-European rules for conduct laid down, all by the ancestral heroes.


  • xXmrawesomekidXx 5 years ago

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