Three Arrarnta men

Arrarnta culture

Altjira nima 'that is, it is always.’ Arrarnta people and their civilisation pre-date the mission period by tens of thousands of years. The history (pre- history) of the people prior to European contact is an important, although largely untold, story that helps contextualise the mission as a part of a larger cultural landscape and a deeper history. This culture is arguably one of the most studied in Australia and yet much of it remains unknown to other Australians.

Three Arrarnta men

Deep History- Arrarnta people in context

Aboriginal people reached Australia at least 60,000 years ago. There is growing evidence that they were here before that, and some believe it is possible that they arrived as far back as c.120,000 years ago.

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Aboriginal wurley-traditional hut

Life before Europeans

Arranrnta culture was rich and aligned to the semi-arid country they called home. Knowledgeable elders used medicine to heal the sick and perform sacred ceremonies to replenish the natural world. While people were sometimes at the mercy of harsh climatic conditions they had and intimate knowledge of their land and the places to find food, water and spiritual guidance.

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Looking over Palm Valley

Visit Western Arrarnta country at Finke Gorge National Park

The cultural landscape that exists today is testimony to Aboriginal people’s resilience and ability to adapt over time. Hermannsburg, pastoralism and religion are key features of the past that have shaped and defined the lives of Traditional Owners today. Arrarnta people have maintained strong connections and deep attachment to their country, despite the effects of colonialism and the efforts of many to undermine traditional practices and Aboriginal law.

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