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spacing1Chronic disease workforce portal

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Welcome to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander chronic disease workforce portal. The web resource aims to provide the chronic disease workforce with access to quality information about chronic disease among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It includes key facts, programs and projects, health promotion and practice resources and workforce related information.


About the artwork

Possum dreaming

Possum Dreaming

About the Artist:

Phyllis Napurrurla Williams was born a long time ago at Mount Doreen Station, an extensive cattle breeding station, about 55 km from Yuendumu in the Northern Territory. As a small child Phyllis went bush with her family learning all about her country. Phyllis has been painting since 1988 with Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation. Phyllis particularly likes painting Janganpa Jukurrpa (Brush Tail Possum Dreaming) but also paints other stories, stories that have been passed down to her by her father and her mother and their parents before them for millennia. When she’s not painting she loves to go hunting with members of the community for bush tucker.

The Story:

The ‘kirda’ or custodians of the Janganpa Jukurrpa (common brush-tail possum Dreaming [Trichosurus vulpecular]) are Japaljarri/Jungarrayi men and Npaijarri/Nungarrayi women. The Jupurrurla/Jakamarra men and Nupurrurla/Nakamarra women are the ‘kurdungurlu’ (ceremonial police) of this knowledge. ‘Janganpa’ are nocturnal animals that often nest in the hollows of white gum trees (‘wapunungka’). A common ‘janganpa’ story is about a ‘Janganpa’ ancestor who travelled all over the Warlpiri lands visiting various sites during the time of the Jukurrpa (Dreamtime), including one site called Jangankuriangu, meaning literally ‘belonging to possum.’ The ‘janganpa’ men carry their hunting weapons as they move around the country, wearing ‘majardi’ (hair string skirts). ‘Janganpa’ were once frequently found across much of Warlpiri and neighbouring country but have become extinct in recent years. It is speculatd that this extinction may be due to feral cat predation and the changes to their habitat caused by the introduction of cattle and other feral animals. The ‘janganpa’ is considered good meat for ‘yapa’ (Warlpiri people).In traditional Warlpiri iconography wavy lines and ‘E’ shapes are used to depict the tracks that the ‘janganpa’ left as he moved around.

Source: Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation

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About the artwork

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Last updated: 9 February 2018
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