‘Waiting for Jardiwanpa’: History and Mediation in Warlpiri Fire Ceremonies

‘Waiting for Jardiwanpa’: History and Mediation in Warlpiri Fire Ceremonies Journal Article


  • Author(s): Curran, Georgia
  • Published: 2019

Abstract: Warlpiri fire ceremonies, including Jardiwanpa, have been documented in various ethnographies and films for over 100 years. Focused on the documented history of these rituals in Yuendumu, and through ethnographic observations from recent decades, I analyse the transforming meanings of fire ceremonies in contemporary Warlpiri lives. I demonstrate that there have been post-settlement shifts in ritual purpose due to sedentarisation and the increased connections that Warlpiri people have made to a broader world. I note in particular that, when monetary payment for performing Jardiwanpa for filmic representation became standard practice in the 1990s, the intricacies of the Dreaming were no longer central, nor were the original purposes of conflict resolution and the opening up of marriage restrictions. Several films have been made of fire ceremonies, resulting in fixed representations of what otherwise are emergent practices. This has impacted the ways in which these rituals can be held today, and Warlpiri people have had to creatively re-negotiate a space for Jardiwanpa and similar fire ceremonies.

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Suggested Citation
Curran, Georgia, 2019, ‘Waiting for Jardiwanpa’: History and Mediation in Warlpiri Fire Ceremonies, Journal Article, viewed 18 August 2022, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=14543.

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