Men’s Tjilirra Movement


The Men’s Tjilirra Movement partners CASSE with Aboriginal communities in Haasts Bluff (Ikuntji) , Mt Liebig (Amunturrngu), Kintore (Walungurru), Papunya (Warumpi)  and Kiwirrkurra in Australia’s central western desert region.

Tjilirra (traditional handmade tools including boomerangs, shields, spears, carrying vessels) are the cornerstone of the ancient traditional world of the Pintupi men. Sacred traditional tool carvings hold the power to the country. Tjukurrpa (the Dreaming) holds the meaning and the life for them, reinforcing relatedness, sorrow and country. Tjilirra represents ancient law, land-ownership, and the carvings hold the journeys of ancestral beings and sacred places in the landscape and more.  The Tjilirra is the title or deed for the country of the men. Tjilirra is the power for the men. They have kept it sacred and secret for over 100 years. There is an urgent need of the Elders to give Tjilirra to the young men – a need which is life or death for cultural survival and their humanity. The young male initiates of the past could not survive in the bush without Tjilirra.  Today Tjilirra, in the form of this project, will save lives and change minds of young and old men.

Martin Jugadai works for the RFDS, is a Ngangkari (traditional healer) and is the founder of the Men’s Tjilirra Movement.

Walter Jugadai is a Ngangkari and Cultural Consultant for the Men’s Tjilirra Movement.

CASSE and the Men’s Tjilirra Movement are proud to collaborate with:

The Men’s Tjilirra Movement: The Men’s Tjilirra Movement was established to secure the future for the custodians of the world’s longest continuing culture. This video shares the story of the Men’s Tjilirra Movement, and how tjilirra – traditional handmade tools – are also powerful tools for living and rebuilding communities.

Wake Up Strong: In March 2016, CASSE sat down with Aboriginal men and youngfellas from Mt Liebig (Amundurrngu) to speak with them about their lives, culture and community, and the Men’s Tjilirra Movement. ‘Wake Up Strong’ shares the conversations with these men.
Images from the Men’s Tjilirra Movement


Stories from the Men’s Tjilirra Movement

Historical Context

Pamela Nathan first worked with the people of Kintore (Walungurru) 30 years ago, when she worked with Kwemenje Dick Leichleitner Japanganka to co-write a book,  ‘Settle Down Country’ about the movement of the Aboriginal people to reoccupy their ancestral lands. A ‘Settle Down Country‘ video about Kintore was also produced by the people, about the people and for the people. Pamela and Kwemenje Dick Leichleitner Japanganka also co-wrote a book on behalf of the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress, “Health Business“, outlining the interface between traditional and European health care..