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Mayaringbungu A Beautiful Mind


26 April 2012


A EULOGY & COMMEMORATION—a collection of songs, stories and country featuring Ned Mayaringbungu Cheedy, drawn from the archives of Juluwarlu Aboriginal Corporation as tribute to the life and work of Mayaringbungu, elder of the Yindjibarndi people, Western Australia, 1906-2012.

While we mourn the passing of our great elder, the Cheedy family and Yindjibarndi elders feel strongly that the life and example of Mayaringbungu should be celebrated and remembered. From Mayaringbungu we learned about being straight with our country and our spirit—his story is one that offers something beautiful and strong to our young people.

Like a treasure, he brought us the knowledge of our ancestors. This film is a small window into the miracle of Ned’s vast knowledge of Yindjibarndi history and culture—a taste of one hundred years of knowledge—knowledge that carries us into the wirdard [spirit, feelings, heart] of the old people.

Mayaringbungu was the greatest champion of, and remains the inspiration for the Yindjibarndi fight against the aggressive divide and conquer attack of iron ore miner, Fortescue Metals Group (FMG), which has destroyed our ngurra for mining—without our consent! FMG refuses to pay fair compensation to Aboriginal Traditional Owners whose country and heritage they obliterate. They want cheap access to our land so they can fulfil their “Vision & Values” of frugality, and their aim to be “The lowest cost, most profitable iron ore producer.”

We will not be tricked or bullied into selling out our future. Mayaringbungu told us to defend our dignity against such greed; and that our nation will survive long after iron ore is finished.

The example of Mayaringbungu as a family man, a teacher and a voice of the Yindjibarndi people is precious. He had faith in the Lord and in the power of Good.

Rest In Peace juju… thankyou for sharing your spirit and knowledge with us.

My Ngaarda name is Mayaringbungu The whitefella name that was given to me when I was born is Cheedy. I was born on the banks of Cheedy Creek or Jirdinyungu. This was the original Cheedy Station and is where I got my name from. Hooley Station as it is now, Winyjuwarranha, became the homestead much later.

My parents are Nyirdinybangu (whitefella name Brumby Ned) and Mabii. I am the second eldest in the family.

The station birth records say that I was born in the 1906 – I don’t know the year that I was born but what I do know is the people I grew up with. My childhood friend was Old Pat, who later became my brother-in-law, then became my Birdarra Law brother. We went through Birdarra Law at Buminyji, the old Ration Camp. Me and him been kids together and grew up at Buminyji with all the old people.

When I was a young boy I travelled this country Ngurra from end-to-end with my parents and many of my other extended family. As I became older and finished Birdarra Law the old people continued with my teaching, learning me all about Yindjibarndi. These old people gave me the confidence to be a carrier of the Yindjibarndi country. They taught me always to understand the Ngurra because it tells me who I am and where I come from. I became very knowledgeable about my country, culture, language and Birdarra. This teaching gave me a better understanding of what it is to be Yindjibarndi and to carry the Yindjibarndi way of life to the next generation.

When I became old enough to work for the Whiteman I worked long and hard like my fathers taught me. I spent most of my working life in Hooley Station, but when I was a young man I moved around a lot working from Station to Station, from Winyjuwarranha (Hooley) to Bardirrinha (Coolawanyah) and Thambirri (Tambery), and I also spent sometime working at Miliyarndunha (Millstream). But in the end Hooley Station is where I would always end up until I was no longer needed.

Every chance I could get with time off, I would always go back to Buminyji Ration Camp, to visit the family and friends where all my people were staying at that time. For all of us in this generation it was a time of oppression and we suffered. It was such a disorderly and disruptive time; many of my people were undervalued. I remember these times and I always speak of the hardship and struggles we faced— living under government control and the laws of assimilation. We had no rights; the only thing that kept all Yindjibarndi happy was knowing that we could stay in our country, our Yindjibarndi country.

Juluwarlu Group Aboriginal Corporation
The Juluwarlu Archive—a collection acclaimed as the most significant of its kind in Western Australia—preserves Ned’s oral histories along with those of many other Yindjibarndi elders who have led the cultural mapping program at Juluwarlu, recording every sacred site, our Yindjibarndi history, language, stories, and songs. This archive has enabled the production of many books, videos and cultural projects, including preparation of the Yindjibarndi #1 native tile claim.

media [at] juluwarlu [dot] com [dot] au

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