Law Stone


Yidumduma explains the use of the engraved Law Stone for the education and initiation of the Wardaman boys. They must lay silent and still with the Law Stone on their chest. He discusses how Elders like himself work with the white man's legal system and take young one's from town in trouble and teach them the traditional Law in the bush.

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You see many of them, not only here,

but you see them in different places everywhere,
carved into them,
 and they're telling them, to sit around,
telling stories, all pay attention and you're not allowed to talk, gotta keep silent,

'til we give you clearance, and all this here, 

You can't cross over any tracks where a woman traveled, you'd break the law.

You gotta keep away from law place,
you can't go near the woman, anyway, 'til you have a clearance,

but as it is you are now the Yingwana, they call it. 

Yingwana mean that you been through the law and you're not allowed to talk. 

And when they give him a clearance, they say,
 and they put him on his chest like this.

He lay down with that, keeping him in silence and he can't talk. 

Everything he gotta talk with the hand talk. 

For drink he say, for water, food, come here.
What do you mean?. What is it?, and all that sort of thing. 

All the different sign in the sign language.

How long would he lay down with it?            

Every night for months. 
That's really giving him a good understanding. 

Now, we try to decide all sorts of different issue with this elder status (law).

That's what we working on now.

People coming into town, losing their culture,
going out of hand, they gotta get back, 
to go through the tradition,
to understand, respect the town and people in town. 

That's what we are talking about now.

We are trying to nail all this again. 

We are working in close to the justice, with the judge and everything. 

Say someone is going to jail, we take him back to deal with the tribal elder,

and we are trying to fix all that sort of thing. 

A lot of old people, not the old original (traditional) one,
but some of 'em just got old,

they don't know the rule and we are going through with them as well,

to give them a good understanding.

We tap in with the Centrelink as well.
Anybody breaking the rule in town then
Centerlink pay the fare for them to go back out to the homeland.
When they get him back over there, then the tribal elder deal with him.
Someone going to jail, or come out on remand, they send him out to me or to somewhere else,
and wait for the hearing to go and then decide which way to look (go).

There's a white man issue, Aboriginal issue.
Like stealing a motor car, there is the different white man way.
We say, "if he's breaking the law, you can deal with that,
what sort of stuff you got on him there, on your side,
from the white man point of view, what he shouldn't be doing.
He should go there first, then bring him back to us later on.
Then we'll deal with him not to do the white man stuff,
breaking windows or stealing cars.
You can't go in stealing something inside a shop.
it's a shop for everybody, to go buy it,
respect the people in the shop.  
Very interesting little round rock, they have been using them in the law places,
making the young people keep their voice down and stay silent.
This sort of rock they used, put it on their chest,
and later, after he was finished, they take the rock off him.
They say "Alright, we'll put it away now" like this one now.
We put it back in the same place.
It was there before, and they use it later, in another time.        

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