Video | About Tjukurpa
Video | Creation story
Video | World Heritage
Tjukurpa (pronounced ‘chook-orr-pa’) is the foundation of our culture. Just as a house needs to stand on strong foundations, so our way of life stands on Tjukurpa.
Tjukurpa has many deep, complex meanings.
Tjukurpa refers to the creation period when ancestral beings created the world. From this came our religious heritage, explaining our existence and guiding our daily life. Like religions anywhere in the world, Tjukurpa provides answers to important questions, the rules for behaviour and for living together.
It is the law for caring for one another and for the land that supports us. Tjukurpa tells of the relationships between people, plants, animals and the physical features of the land. It refers to the time when ancestral beings created the world as we know it. Knowledge of how these relationships came to be, what they mean and how they must be carried on is explained in Tjukurpa.
Tjukurpa refers to the past, the present and the future at the same time. This knowledge never changes, it always stays the same.
None of the places we know existed until our ancestors, in the form of people, plants and animals, travelled widely across the land. As they travelled they formed the world as we know it, creating trees, rocks, caves, boulders, cracks and waterholes. These features are the physical evidence that these events really did take place, they are the Tjukuritja.
This land is still inhabited by the ancestors and their spirits. Their journeys across the land from place to place are called iwara. They are also referred to as songlines. You can follow the stories and songs of certain ancestors along iwara, sometimes for many hundred of kilometres.
The details of the activities and travels of the ancestral beings have been taught to us in stories, songs, dances and ceremonies. When we travel across the land, we can see the Tjukuritja, the physical evidence of the activities of the ancestral beings and that they still exist in our land.
Our deep knowledge of the land and the behaviour and distribution of plants and animals is based on our knowledge of Tjukurpa. This knowledge is carefully passed on to young people. Some areas of Tjukurpa are only passed on to people who have inherited the right to that knowledge. With knowledge comes responsibility.
We would like to share some of this knowledge with you. In return, we ask that you take some responsibility for looking after this place during your stay.
To learn more, please visit the Cultural Centre.