Maintaining Tjukurpa Law and Culture

Two Brothers Walking - Screenings

Press Release 14/02/2014

Special screening of “Two Brothers Walking” at DocWeek 2014
and Byron Bay Film Festival

Link to Press Release PDF

“Two Brothers Walking” a documentary that began as SA Unions fact finding visit to
Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands will have a special screening sponsored by the SA Film Corporation at DocWeek in Adelaide. It has also made selection for Byron Bay International Film Festival.

As a senior Pitjantjatjara lawman Murray George engages with senior men and women to oversee the maintenance of culture for future generations. He follows time less process of consultation, teaching, overseeing ceremony and cultural practices. John Hartley, Kukj Yalanji Bama from Far North Queensland, calls Murray Kuta, elder brother and together they maintain the connections that keep culture invigorated.

Tjukurpa," Murray says, "is always here. It is part of the country." Pitjantjatjara people have kept it standing up alive since the beginning. Now is the time to remind everyone that it is still here and that it has never gone away.

Murray, John and the people they meet are unapologetic that the world’s oldest culture claim its rightful place amongst the ingenuity and diversity of human enterprise and continue for future generations.

Since the
Bringing Them Home report and the subsequent bridge walks people ask what can they do in response. Murray says, “Tjukurpa, (known by different names in all Australian languages) belongs to everyone. Not just black people but white people too. They might not know it but if they want, we can teach them about it.”

Murray’s generation grew up with control over their lives and their country. Like his peers, he is bilingual and bi-literate. Identity and the future for Aboriginal people should be built on strong traditional culture as well as the good things that come from the Western European world. He calls for both cultures to coexist on a level footing, then everyone can benefit from both cultures.

Murray and John talk have similar defining experiences but coming from different directions. Murray grew up with the strength of culture around him and is now looking to the future to maintain the culture that is part of him. John grew up away from his country and has been on a quest to reconnect with his traditional roots and pave a way for others to do the same. Two Brothers Walking is about spiritual people in spiritual country.

Two Brothers Walking is grateful to the film’s generous sponsors which include SA Unions and affiliates, Office of the Arts and private philanthropists.

The documentary will screen:
Byron Bay International Film Festival on the 2nd March 2014
DocWeek Adelaide 6th March 2014following traditional Inma (song/dance), also a Q & A, Refreshments and a tour of Adelaide Studios.

Address enquiries to:
or to:
David Salomon
M: 04 3223 6332


Film Festival Campaign

Conversation at Pukitja

So often people go into Aboriginal communities to talk, not to listen. Most fly in, fly out, usually within a couple of hours. But when representatives from South Australian unions along with John Hartley as cultural intermediary and film-maker David Salomon sat down with senior people at Pukatja in the APY Lands in 2009, they were there to listen. That's unusual. You hear people referred to as "pina pati", that means, blocked ears, implying that they're either deaf or won't listen. 

On our arrival, Murray George and senior people had consulted broadly. They had a well formulated plan to discuss and were puzzled why people hadn't shown interest earlier. The model for administering their country was arrived at Anangu way, with important decisions held over until consensus had been reached.

Conditions on APY Lands had been deteriorating for 30 years. That's not to say that nothing good had happened, but resources to uphold and maintain law and culture were very limited. In a sad reflection of the days of the Aboriginal protector, recent amendments to the APY Lands legislation gave all final decisions to the minister. 

We approached various unions, organisations and individual philanthropists to support a documentary which would highlight that Tjukurpa is still alive in Australia. The APY lands is one of few remaining places where the full body of Tjukurpa is a continuing way of life. The documentary would not be a political debate, but a demonstration to the world that Tjukurpa is alive and on going. Stories from senior men and women would be recorded for future generations. Donations enabled Murray, John and David to travel to communities and call for a cultural response to troubles in communities everywhere. Murray was well known and we got a warm reception. Where he wasn't, people soon overcame their suspicion that we might be spying for the government and offered their support.

 Our sponsors were fantastic. We visited Kuku Yalanji Bubu, John's Family country in Far North Queensland, and kinfolk he hadn't met before. When everything came together at the Laura Dance Festival we met the last remaining fluent speaker of the Kuku Thaypan language, Dr Tommy George Senior. The old man's vision for culture and traditional world-view be maintained for future generations gave birth to the festival over 30 years ago. Anangu Pitjantjatjara presented him a painting and inma (song/dance) called Manta Nganampa during the opening of the Festival, "This, our country, is reverberating with life force. Colours and patterns are moving in excitement." Rainbow Serpent, Wanampi or Kurriyala brings life and the spirit of regeneration to the whole country.

 Now we are preparing to distribute the film as widely as we can. The South Australian Film Corporation In partnership with Australian International Documentary Conference are sponsoring a screening during DocWeek. It will make its World Premiere at Byron Bay International Film Festival around the same time. 
 This could not happen without the generosity of our supporters. We want to thank you sincerely. You have helped us begin something of great value, and we put out a call for everyone to join with Anangu tjuta, Yalanji bama and all Australians in supporting this social enterprise to keep the world's oldest culture standing up alive.

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