Kombumerri Traditional Custodian Contributor: Emerald Brewer

This resource is related to the following Learning Areas –

And responds to the following Enquiry Questions –

Q1.Indigenous family structures and roles and responsibilities.
Q8.Well known Kombumerri people past and present.
Q14.What were the traditional laws, protocols and customs of the Kombumerri people?
Q17.What important roles did members of the Kombumerri people play within their community?
Q30.Are the local significant cultural sites still used by the Kombumerri people?
Q72.How do Indigenous families communicate health needs to their children?

Resource transcript –

So some of the important roles that the Kombumerri played within their community … so children were obviously the innocent role, as they were growing up when they reached a certain age, boys for example, would go through an initiation ceremony to become men. Now the men’s business was quite separate from the women’s business we had separate men’s and women’s business. So the boys would have their initiation ceremony which occurred on the Bora Rings on the Bora grounds and obviously that’s something that I can’t really speak of because I’m not a man, um but the women had their own separate business so the women/the girls would go away and have their own um secret women’s business in the Bora grounds um and so Elders, for example, um were the keepers of knowledge or the keepers of fire, as my grandfather calls it and when an Elder would pass they would pass on that fire to the younger generation. So Elders were the keepers of different hunting methods, different stories, traditions, ceremonies so they had all of that knowledge within them and they would share it when someone would become of age. So another important figure in different mobs and this was also in the Kombumerri People was a figure called the clever man so he would what he would be what you call a um like a magician or someone who would perform like magic um and he was also someone who would, for example, be able to tell the future and he would also be able to tell, for example, if someone died in mysterious circumstances, he had a role to play in the mob of saying this we’re going to find out who died this is who died and he would perform some sort of ritual.  So he was a magic man or a clever man who used to perform rituals but that was only one person within each mob that would have that special role. Women, for example, older women would guide … had a special role in the way that they would guide the younger women into becoming mothers or the smaller sort of hunter-gatherer types. So for example, the men would hunt the larger game but women would also do the hunting as well but they would also hunt the smaller game. So men and women had their different parts to play and they were different to each other. And so with the women, they would teach the younger women how to hunt the smaller game and they would also show them where the medicinal plants were, that they would use for their medicine, and then they would also show them where different areas of plants were where they would pick to eat and make different types of food. The Kombumerri women in particular when it was time to give birth, for example, they would be helped or guided through this experience by the older women who had already gone through this experience. Now women’s business a lot of that information has been lost but a small amount of it which I was told by my own grandmother was that when it was time for a woman to give birth they would go to a separate part away from the rest of the mob, away from the men, and there was a part in so, for example, Burleigh Mountain there’s a women’s area there and they would go there and then they would help the young woman give birth to the baby so that would guide this new life into the world.