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Anangu Audience
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Anangu Audience

Accessing Ara Irititja by Anangu

Ara Irititja Workstations Map

Click the map to view the locations of Ara Irititja Workstations .
The archive project is interactive and participatory at the community and personal level. Cultural and historical information is both distributed and collected through the Keeping Culture KMS system. People of all ages are able to work together at the Ara Irititja workstations. It is a family and community group activity that draws people of several generations together.

People can record themselves in real time telling stories into the archive either through text, sound or movies.

Both from within the Ngaanyatjarra, Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara (NPY) communities and increasingly from the broader Australian perspective, the Ara Irititja project is seen to offer a valuable contribution as one of the components in the educational delivery and transmission of APY culture and history to their own youth.

In 2007 there were workstations in Western Australia, Northern Territory and South Australia that give Anangu regular access to the Ara Irititja archive. These include:

  • All APY communities in SA (except Kanpi and Nyapari where the computer archive is located at the nearby Murputja Education Centre)
  • All APY Schools
  • Ernabella Arts, Pukatja
  • Pukatja (Ernabella) University of SA Anangu Tertiary Education Program (AnTEP)
  • PY Media, Umuwa
  • APY Land Management, Umuwa
  • Ngaanyatjarra Media centre at Irrunytju WA
  • National Parks centre at Mutitjulu NT
  • Anangu community centres at Utju (Areyonga) NT and Tjuntjuntjara and Coonana in WA
  • Port Augusta Prison SA
  • Umoona Aged Care Facility, Coober Pedy SA
  • Alice Springs NT, NPY Women’s Council and PY Media
  • At secondary student centres at Woodville High School and Wiltja Hostel, Adelaide SA

In 2015 these workstations are renewing themselves, springing up all over the APY Lands wherever there is adequate internet.

Families of many generations look together to learn about their family history on the Ara Irititja computer archive, ensuring the transmission of cultural knowledge between age groups. Already Ara Irititja is in strong demand at the community level. Commonly, groups, including up to four generations at one time, use the archive. Soon people will be able to access the archive through their iPhones or iPads.

The Aeroplane Story

Click the illustration to hear a story by Kutatji, an old man from Kuntjanu, about seeing his first aeroplane.
Using the Ara Irititja archive provides young people with new skills such as creating a research project and the critical thinking that is a part of that process. Ara Irititja gives children and young people a path into the complex relationships of their culture. To understand where you come from and who you are related to assists individuals to better engage and connect with family, friends, communities and life itself. It is well documented that life expectancy for Aboriginal people is far below mainstream levels and many children and young people lose their parents and other family members well before they are adults themselves.

Some of the tangible outcomes of Ara Irititja expressed by Anangu include:

  • An expanded sense of personal history and cultural traditions for all generations.
  • An appreciation of the role of Information Technology (IT) in the preservation of personal and community knowledge.
  • The opportunity to use IT.
  • Enhanced individual and community well-being.
  • The transfer of new skills, educational capabilities and resources for the benefit of all levels of the community and organisations.

Employment of community operators

Ara Irititja identifies key people on the community with suitable cultural knowledge and skills to manage the database workstations. This increases general computer literacy, keyboard skills and research experience.

Ara Irititja employs community operators currently at Irrunytju WA (Wingellina), Utju NT (Areyonga), and in SA at Pukatja (Ernabella), Kenmore, Kalka, Pipalyatjara and Murputja (Kanpi / Nyapari). The project aims to employ other community operators in all locations where there is an Ara Irititja community archive.

From quantitative evaluation and observations by the project team, the majority of community members know how to operate the existing database. We provided training using a 'train the trainer' approach and the effectiveness of this is apparent by the large numbers of people, especially younger people, who can now operate the system. In many cases, young Anangu operate it for their older relatives. Ara Irititja is the first experience many older people have had with computers and a respect is generated for the growing ability of the young operators.

I like Ara Irititja. It makes me feel good when I see old people.

I like learning on the Ara Irititja computer. It is good to use the things like printing, putting names and looking at photos of my own family and friends. It is very great.

I think the white people and Anangu people think it is good to have an Ara Irititja on our lands and in cities because they want to learn more about Anangu, how they lived a long time ago and hunted.

Jacinta Marks, Pukatja School, 17 years

I like looking at the olden times things that I don't know about. I like having the memory of my grandmother through seeing her in the photos, hearing the stories she tells and being able to look at her. I see the photos of me when I was a school girl at Wiltja.

Sometimes it's okay for family to have a look at their families who've passed away.

Narelda Adamson, AnTEP Pukatja

I've seen Ara Irititja at Umuwa, too. Now it's in lots of places. I've seen it for ages now and I've learnt a lot about lots of places and seen how my family lived in the old days. My old mother: I've seen her naked, poor thing. I heard my dad singing, who's passed away, in the Ernabella Choir. I went with them to Sydney when I was a little girl with some of the other kids.

Lisa Tjitayi, AnTEP Pukatja