My connection to the Wandjina is through my grandfather. He was a Bunuba man and he also has connection through Ngarinyin and Unggumi, through his mother’s side of the family.
Stories were often told to me when I was a young boy around the campfire. They would tell that these beings had a lot to do with storytelling, ceremonies, and how the land came to be.
My grandfather used to meet up with relatives on the Ngarayin side. They’d talk about these different Wandjina and how they came to be. One story I recall is that there was a great battle between the Wandjina tribes on the north coast of the Kimberley.
This was a great battle of the Dreamtime, which happened in a place called Munja. Some of the Wandjina had fled from the battle. Some went north to Kalumburu. Some went inland towards Fitzroy crossing. And the ones that stayed where the battle took place turned to stone.
My Grandfather told me this was a high rank Wandjina, who was higher than other Wandjina in Bunuba and Unggumi country. As you can see, it doesn’t have a mouth. He speaks through the animals and he also communicates through the weather patterns.
In the Dreamtime, animals and people were equal. That’s how the land survived – by communicating and living together. That’s why some people believe that when they die their spirit goes back to a specific animal and continues to the next generation.