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Part 1: The Australian Aboriginal Mother Earth Theory and Belief Questioned and Debunked

Posted in Aboriginal, Adnyamathanha Yura Culture, culture, Dreaming, Dreamtime, mudha, My Beliefs, My Writings, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on August 14, 2009 by marvynmc
This may be prove to be a wee bit controversial…but nevertheless he goes…

I personally believe that the often accepted Australian Aboriginal Mother Earth Theory, Concept and Belief is an introduced or borrowed doctrine and belief from other Peoples of the World and has no foundation or basis within our Ancient Australian Aboriginal Culture and Peoples.

What do you think?

Mother Earth
Theory & Belief
Who among us has not heard of this following often quoted saying and belief which is usually attributed to an Aboriginal person having once said it:
“We don’t own the land, the land owns us.

The Land is my mother, my mother is the land.

Land is the starting point to where it all began.

It is like picking up a piece of dirt and saying this is where I started and this is where I will go.

The land is our food, our culture, our spirit and identity.

We don’t have boundaries like fences, as farmers do. We have spiritual connections.

To Indigenous people land is not just something that they can own or trade. Land has a spiritual value.”

I have a lot of issues and concerns about some of the above statements and I personally no longer believe some of them to be true beliefs and statements from both an Adnyamathanha Ararru Mathari Yura Mudha (laws, customs, traditions etc) and Ngarrindjeri Aboriginal Cultural Perspective, Belief and Ancient Traditions.

For the purpose of this note I will mainly address my concerns and issues about The Land is My Mother, My Mother is the Land statement from an Adnyamathanha Yura cultural perspective, and will address some of the others in later notes

If any of my Ngarrindjeri Family Members know of any such Ngarrindjeri story or belief that we Ngarrindjeri believe the land is our mother, then please enlighten me.

The simple question I got is this:

“Who said this?”

Because for the life of me I cannot find or identify who actually said these often quoted words and beliefs.

Did an Australian Aboriginal truly say these words and believe that the Earth is Our Mother or was it said or even, as per usual, misunderstood and mistranslated by whitefellas?

Do some of my fellow Australian Aboriginal people actually believe in the Mother Earth Theory and Belief or is it something that has been introduced into our Peoples Cultural Collective Consciousness by some outsiders, that is whitefellas?

I really do believe that the land is our mother belief is actually an introduced or borrowed belief and concept from outside of Australia because many other People in the World had/have this belief in their cultures, but I personally believe we Australian Aboriginal Peoples had no such belief or concept that the land is our mother.

But I am to first to say, that I will freely stand up to be publicly rebuked and corrected if some of my Fellow Australian Aboriginals do actually believe in this belief and concept that the land is indeed their mother

If some of our fellow Australian Aboriginals do indeed have this Ancient Belief within their Culture can you then help me by identifying which Aboriginal Language Group they are?

Do any of you know? If so, then please enlighten me by letting me know or sending such information and answers to me?

The reasons why I must question and even debunk the ‘Land is Our Mother’ Theory and Belief are as follows:

Adnyamathanha Ararru Mathari Yura Mudha Aboriginal Cultural Perspective, Belief and Ancient Traditions

No where in our Ancient Adnyamathanha Ararru Mathari Yura Mudha can I find any proof or foundation for the theory and belief that the Land is Our Mother.

We have no such word, cultural concept or belief that the land is our mother in our Yura Ngawarla Language.

The Yura Ngawarla Word we have for Mother is Ngami meaning ‘Mother’s Breast’.

The Yura Ngawarla Word we have for Earth is Yurra meaning ‘dirt, earth’.

I have recently noted in a newer 2000 Adnyamathanha Yura Ngawarla Dictionary that the Ancient word Yarta is now being translated as the only word meaning ‘dirt, Earth’ and that the much more ancient word of Yurra is no longer even listed or mentioned now.

The Ancient Yura Ngawarla word Yurra is listed and mentioned in the Yura Ngawarla Dictionary that was done by John McIntee and Aunty Pearl McKenzie (nee Wilton) in 1992, which they had started compiling at least twenty years earlier in the 1970’s, a time when many of our Elder Lawmen and Women were still living then, and some who even helped and advised them.

Yarta is translated as meaning ‘country, place, ground, land, dirt’ and now also being translated as ‘earth’.

I have also noted that the word Yura is still being translated as meaning Aboriginal Man/people whereas, and I suppose this may well now be just my own individual personal translation and belief, I often translate the word Yura as meaning ‘of the earth, People’.

There is also a Yura Ngawarla word Yarta Naku- which means ‘to be born’.

The reason why I translate Yura as meaning ‘of the Earth’ and not man is that Yura Ngawarla word for man is ‘Miru’, but this Ancient word for man is hardly ever used now days, and in it’s place the word Yura has now become the more common place and accepted Yura Ngawarla word that now means Aboriginal Man/people.

But I am becoming sidetracked again…so back to the topic and issue at hand, but in a way still relevant to what I have said about the word Yurra and Yura….

Now if we Adnyamathanha Yura believed that the land is our mother then you would think we would have at least a word in our Yura Ngawarla language for it, dont you?

Well truth be told we have no such word, concept or belief in our Adnyamathanha Yura Mudha nor do we have any such story or belief in our Ancient Nguthuna (the Creation Period Time of our ancestral Spirit Beings, Whitefella English words I hate: dreaming, dreamtime)

Hmmm…do not want to become sidetracked again but this is interesting to note and very relevent to our future Adnyamathanha Yura Culture and Descendents.

I have noted that the in the 2000 Adnyamathanha Yurra Dictionary that this Yura Ngawarla word Nguthuna is now also being defined as meaning ‘God’, thus the introduced religion of Christianity is also beginning to affect even how we translate some of our Ancient words now days.

Language (and Culture) is a funny thing because it is actually a living breathing entity for we people speak it – words are added, words are discarded, outside influences creep in or translated in a different ways and meanings than previous earlier translations

Back to the issue at hand….

We have no such word or concept that the land is our mother in our Ancient Yura Nguthuna stories, teachings or traditions.

In the past six years in researching our Adnyamathanha Yura stories, culture and beliefs at no time have I heard or comes across any such Nguthuna story or belief that either clearly states or alludes to that the land is our mother.

If any of my Adnyamathanha Ararru Mathari Yura Ngankini know of one then please let me know?

Now I want to address this statement: Land is the starting point to where it all began

Do we Adnyamathanha Yura believe that the land is the starting point to where it all began?

No we do not believe in this, well at least I don’t. Why not?

Adnyamathanha Ararru Mathari Yura believe that the starting point and end point of our life is as follows:

We Adnyamathanha Yura believe our Life Cycle is Spiritual – Physical – Spiritual.

We Adnyamathanha Yura peoples of the Northern Flinders Ranges have a very strong connection to the heavenly bodies above us as our life cycle is Spiritual – Physical – Spiritual…and out the end of our life we return to our heavenly abode which we call Wikurtanha.

Wikurtanha (Adnyamathanha Yura ancient concept of Heaven) and Muri – our first Spiritual Existence

Our Spiritual existence begins in Wikurtanha, our ancient concept of heaven, where we are created by our two spiritual Ngami (Mothers) known as the Maudlangami. The two Maudlangami are the source of all life and like us they are Ararru and Mathari and they each produce us as spirit children of their own moeity and kinship totems, and in this spiritual existence we are called Muri.

As Muri we are then told by our Maudlangami to come down to the world beneath to find a suitable Ngami (Mother) to be physically born to. As Muri we are always on the look-out for pleasent faced and kindly Ngami and whilst we are looking for such Ngami we spend our days seeking food from the gum blossoms andat night we fall asleep under the loose bark of tree trunks, and this goes on until we find a suitable Ngami…then we are born physically into the World.

Yarta (land, world) – Our Physical Existence

When we are physically born into the world we then become known as Yura which means ‘of the Earth’ as the word Yura is derived from the word ‘yurra’ which means ‘dirt,earth’.

As we are born physically into the Yarta (Land, world) we are given birth order names to signify our order of birth and we are also given a totem name as well as another additional name that today is often called a nick name, in order to differentiate us from others who may also bear the same birth order names as ourselves.

Our ‘nick names’ may be based on our appearence or a personal characteristic we may show or have, or something we have done or which has happened to us.

Wannapi – our return to our Spiritual Existence

When we die our physical body is placed within a Warlikari (grave) and three days later our Wannapi (Spirit) rises up from the Warlikari and we return to our Spiritual existence and travel back to reside once again in Wikurtanha from whence we first came.

The colour of our Wannapi is white.

Our Wannapi Spiritual journey back to Wikurtanha is via the Vukarnawi (water of the dead) which is the side long view of Wali Vari (lit ‘wriggling creek’; the Milky Way Galaxy) and which flows into Wildu Manta-awi (Wedge-tail Eagle Feet/Claw, Southern Cross).

It is here in Vukarnawi that our Wannapi is captured by the Wildu Mant-awi and our Wannapi is then dipped and cleansed by it in the awi (water) of Vurkanawi in order to wash away any pollution we may have picked up and brought with us from the Yarta (Land. World). Once cleased the Wildu Manta-awi then drags us through to Wikurtanha where we join up with all our Wardumathanha Ngakini (Ancestral Family).

Unlike the heaven of Christianity our Wannapi can travel to and from Wikurtanha so that we may check up on our peoples and descendants every now and then.

Now no where in this life cycle were we ever told that the land is our mother or that the land is the starting point to where it all began.

Well I stop here as a lot of information, as per usual, for you to read and contemplate on, but in closing I again make the statement:

I personally believe that the often accepted Australian Aboriginal Mother Earth Theory, Concept and Belief is an introduced or borrowed doctrine and belief from other Peoples of the World and has no foundation or basis within our Ancient australian Aboriginal Culture and Peoples.

What do you think?

What I was going to say to the Scary Racist Bigoted Guy Who Hid Behind A Fake Profile

Posted in Aboriginal, Australia, culture, Education, My Beliefs with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 7, 2009 by marvynmc
The Racist Bigoted Guy made the following statement in his email to me:

“Personally, I think Aboriginals are victims of their own self pity. And yes I have vast experience with them, I have been raised amongst Aboriginals in Far Nthrn QLD. I pity them because all this bullshit woe is me influence is keeping them down. Relieving them of responsibility for their actions is preventing them from climbing out of the gutter, only a small percentage of Aboriginals become anything worth any kind of respect. And its because they have too much focus on political issues, whats been done to them, what they are owed and so on.”

My Response Would Have Been:

Firstly, it is very important that you do not throw around the term ‘Self-Pity’ and apply the term to just anyone and everyone.

Yes there are some black-fellas who may indeed wallow in self-pity just as there are some white-fellas who may also wallow in self -pity, but that does not then mean that we ALL then wallow in self-pity, to think otherwise can lead down the road to prejudice.

You have either intentionally or unintentionally confused the symptoms of self-pity with the symptoms of oppression.

Self-pity is when a person feels sorry for themself and that they are victims of events and therefore feel that they are deserving of condolences and do not try to do anything about solving their self-pity.

Self-pity is often viewed as a bad thing but it can also be considered quite normal, and indeed in some circumstances quite healthy, so long as it is only temporary and leads to both a personal acceptance and determination to change the situation rather than continue to wallow in it.

Oppression is the exercise of authority or power in a burdensome, cruel and unjust manner, and here is where you have confused the symptoms of self-pity with the symptoms of oppression; oppression is also the feeling of being heavily burdened, mentally or physically, by troubles, adverse conditions, anxiety etc.

Take us black-fellas for example, we have been virtually politically and socially oppressed for the past 189 years of Australia’s 221 years history (give or take a few decades, here and there, depending on the foundation of each of the separate British colonies within Australia).

Within that 221 years we have had only 42 years of relative freedom from oppression since the 1967 Referendum, to not only once again freely develop as a race and people but to also begin to freely challenge the past and current state of Australian governments political, social and cultural oppressive policies against our race and people.

The majority of us are not suffering from the symptoms of self-pity but from the symptoms of oppression.

The Cycle of Oppression


Now I have noted elsewhere in some of you prior comments on this Group’s page you have declared the following:

‘I have EMPATHY for my fellow man, even strangers, I wish everyone the best, I am kind, considerate, I work hard, I respect others and treat them with dignity, even if sometimes they are not quite so deserving’.

Empathy is not wishing everyone the best, being kind, considerate, working hard, respecting others and treating them with dignity, if you truly believe that this is what Empathy is then you have completely missed what the true meaning and definition of Empathy is.

I like this definition of Empathy by Educator and Philosopher Khen Lampert who said:

“[Empathy] is what happens to us when we leave our own bodies…and find ourselves either momentarily or for a longer period of time in the mind of the other. We observe reality through their eyes, feel their emotions, and share in their pain….

Until such time you can do this then it will be very difficult for you or any other person to have any type of Empathy with us black-fellas; to observe the Australian political and social reality through our eyes, to feel our emotions and to share our pain of growing up in a Country that has, in both the past and present, oppressed our black-fella race and people through harsh oppressive political, social, cultural and religious policies, generations upon generations.

What is Yura Mudha?

Posted in Aboriginal, Adnyamathanha Yura Culture, Australia, culture, Education, My Beliefs with tags , , , , on August 7, 2009 by marvynmc
What is Yura Mudha?

The term Mudha is our Ancient Mityi (name) that means and applies to ALL, both ancient and modern, laws, traditions, customs, culture, identity, language, art, stories, songs, dance, land, philosophy, kinship relationships to people and all living things etc.

Our Mudha governs and defines our way of life and our intimate close relationships with other people and things eg. Family, Yarta, Awi (water), Animals, Birds, Reptiles, Insects, Plants and Trees etc.

Our Mudha is defined through our Ararru Mathari Yura Ngankini Kinship Relationships.

Our Mudha is as relevant and applicable to us ALL Today, as it was Yesterday to Our Ararru Mathari Yura Wardu-mathanha (Ancestors), and it will be just as relevant and applicable Tomorrow for ALL future Adnyamathanha Ararru Mathari Yura Ngankini to come.

If our Mudha is not relevant and applicable Today then we ALL may as well give up ALL our Mudha, stop calling ourselves Ararru Mathari Yura Ngankini and ALL begin calling ourselves Utynu (corpse, Europeans – sounds like wood-new) and become like them – Dead as Corpses to OUR Mudha and Yura Yarta.

Fred McKenzie Snr – One of the Last Ceremonial Leaders of the Adnyamathanha Ararru Mathari Yura Ngankini –
my Great-Grandfather
Some Ararru Mathari Yura Ngankini believe that our Mudha ended when the last Sacred Male Ceremonies was closed, and that the WHOLE of the Mudha was also then buried into the Yarta by my Great-Grandfather, Fred McKenzie Snr, one of the last of two Adnyamathanha Sacred Ceremonial Leaders, and that from then on, because he had buried and stopped the Sacred Ceremonies, ALL Adnyamathanha Yura were then to give up ALL their Mudha and then live and become like the Utynu.

This is wrong to think this way!…because:

My Great-Grandfather only buried the Sacred Law and it’s associated Sacred Objects and Implements part of the Mudha back into the Yarta, He did not bury any part of Our our Non-Sacred parts of Our Mudha. 


(By the way – Just To Let You ALL Know Where I Stand In Regards To Our Sacred Laws, I SAY THIS:


Mudha is not the Ancient Mityi we use for our Sacred Ceremonies. Whilst some believe we have only have one Mityi (name) for our Sacred Ceremonies, and it is the Mityi – Malkada – in actual fact we have several Mityi that mean Sacred Ceremonies e.g Imini (sacred as in ceremonies) and Uri Mut-andha just to name two others.

Mudha is not the Ancient Mityi for our Sacred Ceremonies it is the name for our Commen Non-Sacred Way of Life.

Do not get me wrong! Our Mudha incorporated and included our Sacred Ceremonies but when our Sacred Ceremonies were stopped and buried, it was only one part of a whole that was stopped and buried AND NOT ALL OF OUR MUDHA.

So it is wrong to use and apply the Mityi Mudha as the name for our Sacred Ceremonies.

Some of our Ararru Mathari Yura Ngankini also often view and say that our Mudha is no longer relevant and applicable to us ALL Today because it is somthing that was in the past. They talk of our Mudha has if it was something placed and trapped it in a ‘past time bubble and no longer relevent or applicable to Ararru Mathari Yura Ngankini living today because we now all live under Utnyu Law’.

This is Wrong!

The main reason why some of our Ararru Mathari Yura Ngankini believe our Mudha it is ‘something that was in the past’, is because they often use and misinterpret the Mityi – Mudha – has meaning either ‘history’ or ‘dreaming, dreamtime’.

This is wrong for the following reasons:

Firstly, the ancient Yura Ngawarla Mityi that we have to explain what the Utynu call and refer to has the ‘dreaming or dreamtime’ is the Mityi – Nguthuna – meaning ‘the Ancient Time of the Ancestral Creation Spiritual Beings when they walked and moved through the Yarta”.

Secondly, we have many other Mityi that can be deifined as meaning ‘history’ or ‘something in the past’, for example:

Wardu (Waru) means ‘a long time ago, history’
Anga-angaru mean ‘far distant past’
Utu Yundu means ‘some time ago’ ( lit. ‘other Sun’)
Nundi Ambu means ‘that time’

Nutu means ‘history, legend’; and
Wibma meaning ‘history’
So the Mityi – Mudha – is not the Mityi for ‘history’ or ‘past’
Has I said in the beginning:

The term Mudha is our Ancient Mityi that means and applies to ALL, both ancient and modern, laws, traditions, customs, culture, identity, language, stories, songs, dance, land, philosophy, kinship relationships to people and all living things etc.

Our Mudha governs and defines our way of life and our intimate close relationships with other people and things eg. Family, Yarta, Awi (water), Animals, Birds, Reptiles, Insects, Plants and Trees etc.

This generation of Adnya-mathanha Ararru Mathari Yura Ngankini have an obligation and responsibility to teach and pass on our Mudha to other, especially our Children and Young People, because if our Mudha ends and vanishes from our Yura Yarta then Ararru Mathari Yura Ngankini will also end and vanish from our Yura Yarta.



My Adnyamathanha Mathari Yura Ngankini Mita (mate), Clifford (Vuki) Coulthard and I at the entrance sign to Nepabunna. Clifford and I are both the Eldest Sons so we both share the Yura Mityi (name) title Virdianha (Mother’s Helper) and we are also both the Eldest Grandsons of our Generation and so share the Mityi title Nhunga (Big Brother). Clifford and I are both Equal Opposites – he from the Mathari South Wind Mob and I from the Ararru Northwind Mob.
You Know What?

Today, whenever I speak to Ararru Mathari Yura Ngankini, but especially Utynu I now always say and tell them this:

Our Mudha is still alive and practiced by many of our Ararru Mathari Yura Ngankini today, and many of us are ensuring that our Mudha is passed onto our Future Generations – through talking, educating, sharing and writing about our Mudha with our Children and Future Descendants.

Our Mudha deifines us – our Identity, Our Culture, Our Beliefs, Our Interations with People and All living things.

Our Mudha is Our Way of Life.

When the Utnyu came to Our Yarta they tried to assimilate and absorb us into their Culture and Way of Life in order to try to take away Our unique Adnya-mathanha Ararru Mathari Yura Ngankini identity and try to make Our Peoples vanish from our Yura Yarta – but they have not succeeded.

In fact, we Adnya-mathanha Ararru Mathari Yura Ngankini have turned it right around on the Utnyi for, as it was always in the Ancient of Days, we have actually assimilated and incorporated them and many of the Ways into our Mudha – for they are now part of our Mudha, justv has we are part of Our Mudha.

The problem that remains is that the Utnyu still wish to resist and remain has we have named them – Corpses – who wish to remain in the grave rather than come and be assimilated and absorbed into Our Mudha, in the same manner has We have resisted from being assimiliated and absorbed into their Culture, although some Utnyu have come into our Mudha and demonstrate respect for it.

Whilst today we no longer have Our Ancient Sacred Ceremonies we still continue to have and follow our Ancient Mudha – this current Generation of Ararru Mathari Yura Ngankini have merely updated it, just has Our children and Future Descendents will also continue to update it has new experiences, knowledge and technologies are absorbed into it.

Our Mudha is our Identity and without it we would not remain a unique enriched Peoples that stands out from other Australian Aboriginal People and the rest of the World Peoples.

My Mathari Yura Ngankini Mita (opposite mate), Clifford (Vuki) Coulthard at Malki Rock Art Painting Site
Ararru Mathari Yura Ngankini ensure that you teach and pass on our Mudha to your Children and Future Descendants for this was the greatest fear of our Wardu-mathanha.

If we give up our Mudha then we Give Up on Our Wardu-mathanha, Our Children and our Future Descendants.



Nhangka Warntu All – Hello! How are you? Good I hope? Who Am I?

Posted in Aboriginal, Adnyamathanha Yura Culture, Stories about Me with tags , , , , , , , , on August 6, 2009 by marvynmc
Walha Udi Marvyn Mc

Walha Udi Marvyn Mc

Well this is my first time ever at Blogging and it was suggested to me by an Australian Aboriginal Sister who I met briefly, along with her partner, and who both had a lasting impact on my life, despite our very brief meeting together. So when she suggested I start my own personal Blog Page – I listened and followed her advice. Thank you L & V…

So the first place I should start after saying Hello to all in my Vap-apa (Mother’s Father, Mate, Grandfather) Language, Yura Ngawarla, which is the Ancient Aboriginal Language of his mob, Adnya-mathanha Kuyani Yura is: “Who Am I?”

My full name (Adnya-mathanha Kuyani and English names) is Walha Udi Virdianha Nhunga Marvyn-anha F McKenzie Snr and I am an Adnyamathanha Kuyani Ararru Vukurra Milana Yura

‘Walha Udi’ is my Adnya-mathanha Kuyani Yura Mityi (lit ‘Earth Name’) that was given to me by my Vap-apa, and it means Bush Turkey (Australian Bustard) (Walha) Song (Udi), and it was the Ancient song he always use to sing to me in his Ancient Australian Aboriginal Language and make me dance to.

‘Virdianha’ is my one of my Birth Title Order Names which indicates that I am the first born makle child in my clise immediate Family and it describes what my role and responsibilities will be in my immediate Family – Mother’s Helper – thus my role and responsibility is to always look after my Mother, to make sure she is always well fed and cared for.

‘Nhunga’ is my secind Birth Title Order Names and has two meanings. The first meaning is that ‘I am an Elder Brother’ to some of my younger Family members and the second meaning is that ‘I am the first born male child in my generation, that is the eldest Grandson’.

‘Adnya-mathanha’ is the recent name we have adopted for our Aboriginal Language Group which is made up of  five ancient separate but connected Aboriginal Language Groups: Kuyani, Wailpi, Yadliaura, Pilatapa and Pangkala, which are the traditional groups of the Northern Flinders Ranges, South Australia. I am descended from the Kuyani and also Wailpi.

‘Adnya-mathanha’ literally means ‘Rock/Stone People’ though some often incorrectly say ‘Hill People’ and if that was the case then we would actually be call Vambata-mathanha, as Vambata means ‘hills’.

We call ourselves ‘Yura’ and this name is derived fron the name ‘Yurra’ meaning ‘Earth, dirt’, thus we can often define Yura as ‘of the Earth’. some people have incorrectly defined Yura as meaning Man but we have a separate word for Man and it is Miri.

Some people often incorrectly say our language is called Adnya-mathanha but in reality it is called Yura Ngawarla, which literally means ‘Earth Language’.

Ararru Vukurra Milana means:

Ararru is one of the two names we have for our separate but connected marriage lines, others call ‘moiety’, the opposite moiety to Ararru is Mathari.

Vukurra is the word for ‘Northwind’ and Milana is an old ancient word for people or totem, thus I am descended from the Northwind Mob/People/Totem. The opposite Mob is Varpa Milana – literally South wind Mob/People/Totem.

I am an artist (painter since 1994, photography mainly) and a writer.

I am very political because my whole life is often a political statement in itself.

I believe fully in Reconciliation between Black and White Australians, although I believe before such Reconciliation can occur their are some historical Restorative Social Justice issues that need to be identified, discussed and resolved prior to any such Reconciliation.

I am also descended from the Irish and Scottish and therefore percieve myself to be a bridge between my Black and White Australians Ancestors Peoples.

Nuff said re intro…