The Djungguwan of North-east Arnhem Land

The clips in this collection draw on three longer films made in 1966, 1976 and 2002 about the Djungguwan ceremony in north-east Arnhem Land, Northern Territory.

The aim of the Djungguwan is to bring young boys into the Law, identifying them with clansmen of previous generations and with their ancestral origins.

Through song, dance and art, the ceremony tells a narrative about two ancestral beings, the Wawilak Sisters, as they journey through country creating each tribe and clan and giving them their Law. No two performances of the Djungguwan are the same.

The three ceremonies – spanning nearly 40 years from 1966 to 2002 – give the audience an insight into processes of continuity and change. It is striking to see the young boy initiated in 1976, Wanyubi Marika, now leading the ceremony in 2002.

WARNING: this collection contains names, images or voices of deceased Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Main image: Courtesy Vertigo Productions. From the website Still Our Country.