Our Country

Ngarluma Country – Our Country

Ngarluma our countryNgarluma Country is located in the West Pilbara region of Western Australia. Its land ranges from interior hills and tablelands, river systems and coastline, including the world-famous Burrup Peninsula and Dampier Archipelago.

The Ngarluma People believe that the world came into existence during a creative epoch that refers to “the earth when it was soft” (known in Yindjibarndi as the ngurranyujungkamu = “back when the earth was soft” check Ngarluma word)). Creative beings used supernatural force (manggan) to shape the hills, rivers, seas and landforms.

Significantly, the creative beings placed languages in the country, which gave parts of the landscape different modes of speech. The beings themselves used these different languages wherever they went and where they did so, the features they created or shaped became possessed of those languages and could be communicated within those languages. This also extended to living things. Plants and trees, birds, mammal and all kinds of life took on the language essence through which the manggan shaped the world and their species.

Specific areas of country are associated with specific languages. The Ngarluma language was laid down as the language of the plains and the coast. The Yindjibarndi language was laid down by beings who shaped the country on the tableland along the Fortescue River. Neighbouring languages such as Kariyarra, Panyjima, Kuruma and Mardhuhunera were likewise ‘positioned’ in the western Pilbara during the ngurranyujungkamu.

The first human populations to be born in those lands, estimated at approximately 30,000 years ago, also took on the language of each area. The land was Ngarluma land, but so too were the inhabitants known as Ngarluma People. Present day Ngarluma People are the descendants of the Ngarluma People who have belonged to those lands since time immemorial.