Crook Hat and Camphoo: Hunting during the calm
The two elders with their spears straightened and smoothed, make holes in the ends with a stone knife for the woomera. The elders tell us the Antarrengeny people are still making spears this way today. The elders speak about the tradition of spear making throughout the area, and those peoples that are still making them today. They tell us the Irrwelty and Aherreng used to hunt with spears when 'it was calm and there was no wind’. Summary by Romaine Moreton.
The elders speak about the history of the different clans that used spears and in what conditions they hunted in, in a way that allows us to enter into a world where the craft of spear making is an every day event that has its own technical parameters. When the elders tell us that the Irrwelty and Aherreng used to hunt with spears on calm days when there was no wind we see that the exchange of this sort of information is a cultural norm for the area, and positions anyone who is not familiar with that information as an outsider.
Crook Hat and Camphoo synopsis
A documentary that shows two Alyawarr elders, Donald ‘Crook Hat’ Thompson Kemarre and Reggie 'Camphoo’ Pwerl making spears and woomeras in the tradition of the old people, using technology and knowledge that are millennia old and passed generation through generation.
Crook Hat and Camphoo curator's notes
A beautifully told story that shows two elders using technology thousands of years old to make a spear and a spear thrower or a woomera. The gentle nature of the two elders and the repetition with which they state the importance of not losing the technology and knowledge that it takes to craft a spear from the environment is the rhythmic momentum of this film. The young people, they say, are not learning this culture, but the elders insist upon the ingeniousness of the old people or the ancestors from whom the knowledge and skills evolved.
A charming and defiant testimony to the ancient people of the area, and the caretakers and custodians of the people who now hold the knowledge. An important feature of the Nganampa Anwernekenhe series is language and cultural preservation. The filmmakers who record this information are now a part of the cycle of the transmission of cultural knowledge and its practice. Crook Hat and Camphoo reiterates the importance every aspect of Indigenous culture, its practice and its application, whether it is making spears or gathering honey ants. The emu bush for example, is a bush that has its own Dreaming, reinforcing an aspect of Indigenous belief that values all being – plant, mineral, animal, human – as equally important in sustaining a healthy environment.
This program has also screened on NITV, National Indigenous Television.
Notes by Romaine Moreton