Law and Culture Meetings
In most years since 1983, Anangu and Yarnangu women have attended an annual Law and Culture camp, or meeting, organised by NPYWC, at numerous remote locations in the NPY region.
These gatherings provide an opportunity for women from the NPY region to come together to celebrate and consolidate their traditional cultural practices and identity.
They also contribute to the women’s ability to deal with the sometimes overwhelming pressures and difficulties of their daily lives, for example responding to serious family matters such as drug and alcohol addictions of family members, domestic and other violence, or the challenge of caring for disabled or aged family members.
Women from the NPY region hold Law and Culture meetings in high regard because they are a forum where they can come together from across the NPY tri-state:
- To exchange of traditional knowledge and ceremonial cycles;
- To perform dances and ceremonial cycles in order to confirm the importance and power of women’s law;
- To promote the position and status of senior Aboriginal women from the Ngaanyatjarra, Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara communities;
- For the purpose of exposing younger women and women dispossessed of their culture to particular practices, they may gain an understanding of their heritage; and
- For the purpose of allowing relatives from NPY communities who have not seen each other for a long time and opportunity to re-unite. Given the vast distances in central Australia and sadly the frequency of funerals, it does happen that women do miss out on important sorry business with each other. Meetings provide an opportunity for grieving rituals to take place.
Women only Law and Culture meetings allow NPYWC members to pursue a part of life that is quite separate from that of their men, strengthen their ties with one another, their land and important sites. Ongoing feedback and internal program evaluations show consistently that members view their Law and Culture as one of the most empowering, unifying and important aspects of their lives.