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Yothu Yindi Foundation Mandawuy Yunupingu

An Introduction to the Yolngu world view

Yolngu culture in northeast Arnhem Land — a heartland of Aboriginal culture and land rights — is among the oldest living cultures on earth, stretching back more than 40,000 years.

Yolngu life is divided into two moieties: Dhuwa and Yirritja. Each of these are represented by people of a number of different groups, each of which have their own lands, languages and philosophies. Learn more about Dhuwa and Yirritja (This is a 1p PDF written in 2000)

Yolngu groups are connected by a complex kinship system (gurrutu). This system governs fundamental aspects of Yolngu life, including responsibilities for ceremony and marriage rules. Kinship relations are also mapped onto the lands owned by the Yolngu through their hereditary estates. Learn more about Gurrutu (This is a 1p PDF written in 2000)

Yolngu have many ways of talking about processes of learning which draw on aspects of their world view. For example, some yirritja groups talk about the meeting of the salt and fresh water as a metaphor for the concept of garma. Some dhuwa groups use the metaphor of milngurr – the relation between an artesian freshwater spring and their tidal influences – to elaborate similar ideas.

Yolngu people speak a dozen dialects of a language group known as Yolngu Matha. English is a second (or thirteenth) language for many Yolngu.

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Yothu Yindi Foundation Mandawuy Yunupingu
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An Introduction to the Yolngu world view

Yolngu culture in northeast Arnhem Land — a heartland of Aboriginal culture and land rights — is among the oldest living cultures on earth, stretching back more than 40,000 years.

Yolngu life is divided into two moieties: Dhuwa and Yirritja. Each of these are represented by people of a number of different groups, each of which have their own lands, languages and philosophies. Learn more about Dhuwa and Yirritja (This is a 1p PDF written in 2000)

Yolngu groups are connected by a complex kinship system (gurrutu). This system governs fundamental aspects of Yolngu life, including responsibilities for ceremony and marriage rules. Kinship relations are also mapped onto the lands owned by the Yolngu through their hereditary estates. Learn more about Gurrutu (This is a 1p PDF written in 2000)

Yolngu have many ways of talking about processes of learning which draw on aspects of their world view. For example, some yirritja groups talk about the meeting of the salt and fresh water as a metaphor for the concept of garma. Some dhuwa groups use the metaphor of milngurr – the relation between an artesian freshwater spring and their tidal influences – to elaborate similar ideas.

Yolngu people speak a dozen dialects of a language group known as Yolngu Matha. English is a second (or thirteenth) language for many Yolngu.

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