10. Filming the Seven Sisters story at Kuruala
It’s like this – as everyone got up this morning they were already preparing for the emu Dance. Before the Seven Sisters re-enactment began, the Emu dance opened the ceremonies. We summoned the TV crew to record on camera the song and story of Nyiru, so it can be broadcast on TV and sold on video for everyone to see. When the people see it they will understand, and say ‘I see it now, it is true, Nyiru and the Seven Sisters came to Kuruala’.
We enable them to do the same sort of thing that they used to do traditionally, that is to visit sites and to re-empower those sites though performance, and to…keep them alive as a thing of great cultural significance.
This place Kuruala is my mother’s place. It belongs to my mother and all my classificatory mothers. They are the traditional custodians of this area…we sons and daughters are keeping their story, to teach it to our own children, so that they might learn and say ‘They’re keeping their mothers’ story really strong’.
[Directing: Once you have shot this action, then shoot in this direction…and that’s Nyiru there, look at that with you camera]
This site is the body of Nyiru. We are going to record the women running towards the waterhole at Kuruala. Then we are going to record Nyiru following them…they are acting now.
Custodians invited us here to Kuruala to record some scenes of the Seven Sisters that we’d recorded with them last year. Last night they sang a song from Ooldea that hadn’t been sung for many, many years: they were so happy and excited for that, that they've changed their agenda: they want us to record this song in daylight, dances to go with it, to tale back to Ernabella to broadcast.
As kids we would watch and listen to our grandfathers who would get up to dance these songs, that people remembered and kept in their heads. Only now have we revealed them, especially for CAAMA, and people are happy because of that.
When Noeli was a child we didn’t know the song. They brought the song here from that direction. It was customary to travel with songs.
We went far away to Kuruala, the other side of Pipalyatjara. Many women were sitting together, singing at that beautiful place. We were performing Nyiru and the Seven Sisters. Men, women and children were singing together.
Men were stamping their feet in an absolutely beautiful dance, and we ignorant ones were listening to that song. Others that knew it were singing the song – the men were stamping really beautifully. Then we finished and came back to Ernabella.
Now the dance is on TV and everybody is watching. Absolutely lots are watching, even the ignorant ones. They are all watching the men dance beautifully. It’s really beautiful…everybody is happy.