Nanda tribe

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Nanda are an indigenous Australian people of Western Australia.


Norman Tindale estimated the Nanda's tribal territories to cover some 6,300 square miles (16,000 km2), stretching from Willigabi (Wilugabi) northwards along the coast to the vicinity of Northampton and Shark Bay, Hamelin Pool and Yaringa.[1] Their eastern neighbours were the Malgana and the Nokaan, while on their southern border were the Amangu.

Spring rites

Augustus Oldfield described the increase performances, Caroo, which took place in mid spring in the following terms:

At the time of the first new moon after the yams are ripe, the Watch-an-dies begin to lay in a stock of all kinds of food, sufficient to subsist them during the continuance of the festival. On the eve of the feast the women and children retire from the company of the men, shouting as they go, Ow-ee, Ow-ee,and henceforth, until the conclusion of the ceremony, the men are not permitted to look on a female, but sometimes, when their store of food prove insufficient, this law is a little infringed. The men thus left to themselves rub their bodies with a mixture of charcoal, ashes, and wallaby-fat; after which, having dug a large pit in the ground, they retire to rest, not, however, before they are gorged with the good things provided for the occasion. Early next morning they re-assemble and proceed to decorate themselves with a mixture of ochre and emu-fat, dressing their hair with fine shavings and wearing garlands of My-a-lie and A-rum-ba. This beautifying of their persons, with frequent feastings, lasts the whole day, but towards evening the real ceremony begins. They dance round the pit they have dug, shouting, singing, and some few whistling (this they never do in their common corrobories), and thus they continue all night long, each in turn snatching a few moments for rest and gormandising. Every figure of their dances, every gesture, the burden of all their songs, is calculated to inflame their passions. The pit is so dug and decorated with bushes as to represent the private parts of a female: as dance they carry the spear before them to simulate priapus: every gesture is obscene, and the character of the songs in vogue on such occasions may be understood from the following, which may be translated by means of the vocabulary:

Bool-lie neera, Bool-lie neera,
Bool-lie neera. Wad-a-ga.

At the conclusion of the ceremonies, when, as my informant told me, Aumanno-maddijubat-wabayadia, they place sticks in the ground to mark the scene of their orgies, and henceforth that is a tabood place, and any looking on it, inadvertently or not, will infallibly sicken and die. For sometime after the feast the men who have held it wear shavings in their hair to distinguish them as Caa-ro men.'[2]

Social organization

The Nanda were divided into at least three hordes:

  • Buluguda
  • Daguda. (at Billiecutherra)
  • Tamala. (at Tamala Homestead).[1]

They did not practice circumcision.[3]

Alternative names

  • Yau. (yo = 'no')
  • Jau.
  • Eaw.
  • Watjandi. (watju means 'west').
  • Watchandi, Watchandie.
  • Buluguda (also a toponym).
  • Bulgulu.
  • Tamala (also a toponym)
  • Daguda.[3]

Some words

  • otthoo (tame dog)
  • ngobano. (wild dog)
  • amo (father)
  • ago. (mother)[4]
  • erato (north)
  • euna. (south)
  • angalo. (east)
  • watchu. (west)[5]



  1. ^ a b Tindale 1974, pp. 249–250.
  2. ^ Oldfield 1865, pp. 230–231.
  3. ^ a b Tindale 1974, p. 250.
  4. ^ Oldfield 1886, p. 312.
  5. ^ Oldfield 1886, p. 311.


Retrieved from ""
This content was retrieved from Wikipedia :
This page is based on the copyrighted Wikipedia article "Nanda tribe"; it is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA). You may redistribute it, verbatim or modified, providing that you comply with the terms of the CC-BY-SA