Nanda people

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The Nanda (also spelt Nhanda, Nhunda, Nhanta) are people of Indigenous Australian descent who live in the mid-west region of Western Australia around the mouth of the Murchison River.

Country

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 northern neighbours were the Malgana and the Nokaan, while on their southern border were the Amangu.

On 28 November 2018, after a twenty-four year battle, Nanda people were recognised as the traditional owners of more than 17,000 square kilometres (6,600 sq mi) of land and water in the Yamatji region, in Western Australia.[2] Nanda people have been awarded exclusive native title rights over several key areas including Paradise Flats, Bully, Wilgie Mia, Mooliabatanya and Syphon pools.

Culture

The story of the Beemarra serpent is the central dreaming story of Nanda people. The Beemarra is, according to Nanda culture, an ancestral being responsible for the creation of the land and waters in the region.

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.'[3]

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.[4]

Alternative names

  • Yau. (yo = "no")
  • Jau
  • Eaw
  • Watjandi. (watju means "west").
  • Watchandi, Watchandie
  • Buluguda (also a toponym).
  • Bulgulu
  • Tamala (also a toponym)
  • Daguda[4]

Some words

  • otthoo (tame dog)
  • ngobano. (wild dog)
  • amo (father)
  • ago. (mother)[5]
  • erato (north)
  • euna. (south)
  • angalo. (east)
  • watchu. (west)[6]

Notes

Citations

  1. ^ a b Tindale 1974, pp. 249–250.
  2. ^ SBS 2018.
  3. ^ Oldfield 1865, pp. 230–231.
  4. ^ a b Tindale 1974, p. 250.
  5. ^ Oldfield 1886, p. 312.
  6. ^ Oldfield 1886, p. 311.

Sources

  • "AIATSIS map of Indigenous Australia". AIATSIS.
  • Barlee, Frederick (1886). "Shark Bay: The Majanna tribe" (PDF). In Curr, Edward Micklethwaite (ed.). The Australian race: its origin, languages, customs, place of landing in Australia and the routes by which it spread itself over the continent. Volume 1. Melbourne: J. Ferres. pp. 306–309.
  • Goldsworthy, Roger T. (1886). "Northhampton: Eaw Tribe" (PDF). In Curr, Edward Micklethwaite (ed.). The Australian race: its origin, languages, customs, place of landing in Australia and the routes by which it spread itself over the continent. Volume 1. Melbourne: J. Ferres. pp. 314–315.
  • "Mid West Nanda people win 24-year native title battle". PerthNow. AAP. 29 November 2018. Retrieved 5 December 2018.
  • "Native title win for Nanda people in WA". Special Broadcasting Service. 29 November 2018. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  • Oldfield, Augustus (1865). "On the Aborigines of Australia". Transactions of the Ethnological Society of London. 3: 215–298. JSTOR 3014165.
  • Oldfield, Augustus (1886). "The Mouth of the Murchison River: the Watchandi Tribes" (PDF). In Curr, Edward Micklethwaite (ed.). The Australian race: its origin, languages, customs, place of landing in Australia and the routes by which it spread itself over the continent. Volume 1. Melbourne: J. Ferres. pp. 310–313.
  • "Tindale Tribal Boundaries" (PDF). Department of Aboriginal Affairs, Western Australia. September 2016.
  • Tindale, Norman Barnett (1974). "Nanda (WA)". Aboriginal Tribes of Australia: Their Terrain, Environmental Controls, Distribution, Limits, and Proper Names. Australian National University Press. ISBN 978-0-708-10741-6.
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