[RNLD] Connections between initiation and kangaroo dreaming

Margaret Sharpe msharpe3 at une.edu.au
Sun Dec 6 03:31:02 UTC 2015

Hi all,
In Ngali in WA there is a connection between kangaroo dreaming (the red kangaroo) and the initiation of young boys. It is shown in the term for both of these.
The term in Yugambeh-Bundjalung for kangaroo is guru man or guruhman (there is an other name also). The word guru man is 'boy' in Dhanggati, and rumana in Anaiwan, and (though my dictionaries are on loan) I think one of the languages of the area has guru man for an initiated youth.
The Wardaman see certain dark dust clouds in the Milky Way's equatorial region as the red kangaroo', and underneath it is a slim dark cloud called the hair belt. Earlier in the night the sky kangaroo cloud is seen as part of the sky emu. But in the sky you have the connection between the kangaroo and initiation, and Kado Muir (whose parents compiled information on Ngalia) assures me the kangaroo dreaming is associated with the initiation of young boys.
The initiands wear belts made of human hair. The Alawa also dressed the initiate that way.
I ran these ideas past John Bradley, now the guru on Yanyuwa, but he tells me initiation there is associated with dingo dreaming, and kangaroo with more secret ceremonies.
If this is a real connection between kangaroo and the initiands, there may be other traces in other languages spread across Australia. I'd appreciate any information anyone has on this issue. I doubt if there's other information from Eastern Australia, but I'll do some checking at AIATSIS next week.
Margaret Sharpe
Mobile 0428711123
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