This is galin-galin, the Hobby Falcon, also called the Little Falcon, and he is the binga thawuun, or totem, for my clan the Nugal-warra. Totems are spirit companions for a particular person, or for a clan or a tribe, and when I see our totem it reminds me of myself, my spiritual strength, and my family connections. It's like Christians who wear a cross, or Jewish people who wear the Star of David, to remind them of their spirituality. Totems also help us to comply with the law by telling us who we can and cannot marry. You cannot marry someone who has the same clan totem as you.
Totems can also be a place, like Gubal da Guthay, or a special animal used like a family crest. Ngamu ngaathaar, which literally means 'the mother of all other dogs', is special for the Nugal clan. There's a cave painting of him, and from his internal markings you can see that he is another representation of Ngamu, the Guurrbi man.
The Aboriginal family: Growing up
Guurrbi Picture Gallery
Photo of Hobby Falcon: Greg Miles