Galin-Galin and Other Totems

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.

For my tribe, the Guugu Yimithirr, there are two totems: the white cockatoo - binga wandaar - which is the totem of the coastal people, and the black cockatoo - binga ngurraarr - for those that live inland. Our tribal totem is the black cockatoo. My home community of Hope Vale uses both to represent the coming together of the two moieties in the township, and you often see them used in local art.

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.

My Family
The Aboriginal family: Growing up
Guurrbi Picture Gallery

Photo of Hobby Falcon: Greg Miles

1 comment:

samia Goudie said...

love the site and the work you are doing and sharing . keep going strong and i look forward to meeting you one day. samia