The Groote Eylandt archipelago is the home of the Warnindilyakwa people. In the second half of the 18th Century, they invited the Nunggubuyu to migrate from the mainland to Groote. Together they are known by their language name Anindilyakwa.
Thought to be one of the most ancient languages in Australia, Anindilyakwa is the first language spoken among all 14 clan groups of the archipelago. The three Indigenous Communities of Angurugu, Milyakburra and Umbakumba on Groote are home to 1500 people who strongly embrace their culture and ceremonial traditions.
The Anindilyakwa Songlines explain how the land, waters, animals and people of the archipelago were created. Their complex kinship system means everyone is related to each other and there are strict rules about marriage, family and day-to-day interactions.
Cultural traditions, knowledge and skills are passed on to the younger Anindilyakwa generations by their families as well as through programs such as the Learning on Country partnership between local schools and Indigenous rangers.
Children are taken out of the classroom and into the bush and the beach to learn spear making, basket making, fishing and hunting. They collect bush tucker such as wild yams, green plum, black currant, bush onion, red kurrajong seeds, and sugarbag (native bee honey). They also learn Songlines, which explain country and connections, from the Elders who go out with the bush trip groups.