Wapurtarlikirli : The Battle at Yumurrpa single work   prose   dreaming story  
Issue Details: First known date: 1994 1994
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'This narrative is an account of a major battle, the battle between the small yam (ngarlajiyi) people from Wapurtarli and the large yam (yarla) people from Yumurrpa. The climax of the narrative, its turning-point is when the leaders of the two groups decide the slaughter is so great that they should settle the matter by engaging in single combat, sitting cross-legged on the ground, a gruesome method which allows neither to escape. When the hero from Wapurtarli convinces the other that continuing to fight is useless, he does this without loss of face, which may well be the cultural achievement the jukurrpa celebrates, As the severly wounded hero limps back towards Wapurtarli, mourning as he passes the ranks of the dead now turned into stones, he heals himself by singing.'

(Source: Warlpiri Dreamings and Histories, 1994, p. 115)


  • 'Translator's note:

    In both the matter and style of this narrative, we can see the classical face of Warlpiri culture, a culture which has much more in common with the open and clearly understood laws of society and the universe of the Achaeans of the Iliad ... Liddy Nakamarra's account of the battle at Yumurrpa is a great narrative, a living example of the heroic style.'

    (Source: Warlpiri Dreamings and Histories, 1994, pp. 115, 117)

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Last amended 1 Apr 2010
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