Mparntwe Sacred Sites: 'A Big Book'
Sweeping aerial views show Mparntwe (Alice Springs). Voice-over narration tells us that the landscape of Mparntwe was created by ancestral beings as they travelled through the country. Elder Max Stuart explains the principles of the Dreaming, and that it is like ‘a big book’.
Summary by Romaine Moreton
The custodians of Mparntwe have to contend with developers when they attempt to maintain the sacred sites. The township of Alice Springs is built over Arrernte sacred sites, and Arrernte elder Max Stuart tells us that, despite the presence of the township, the Dreaming is still happening. In this clip we are introduced to the concept that, although the western township of Alice Springs was built over important Arrernte cultural sites which interrupts the Arrernte people’s cultural practice, the Dreaming itself is still happening.
Mparntwe Sacred Sites Synopsis
A documentary about the sacred sites of Mparntwe (Alice Springs) and how the development of Alice Springs affected the cultural traditions of the Arrernte people.
Mparntwe Sacred Sites is a documentary that speaks about a clash of beliefs. The development of Alice Springs interfered with the cultural practice of the Arrernte people, and in this documentary the Arrernte people speak of having to compromise with the developers in order to protect sites. Mparntwe Sacred Sites is about two cultural beliefs existing in the same space. While the Arrernte have Dreaming stories thousands of years old that tell how the land was given formation, the Arrernte people interviewed say these stories are ‘not believed’ by the developers. The importance of being able to practice culture and protect the land is inherent to wellbeing. Arrernte elders in Mparntwe Sacred Sites give us an intensive history of the area of Mparntwe (Alice Springs), and the journey of the many ancestral beings that gave Mparntwe its form. It is during the National Native Title Tribunal hearings of 1997 that Native Title was recognised in Alice Springs.
Notes by Romaine Moreton