Kombumerri Traditional Custodian Contributor: Max Dillon

This resource is related to the following Learning Area –

And responds to the following Enquiry Questions –

Q1.Indigenous family structures and roles and responsibilities.
Q8.Well-known Kombumerri people past and present.

Resource transcript –

Okay, so, it’s like everybody is born with a skin lore name. Now, depending on where you go, it could be japunjari or napajari [janjari as spirit type “little man”] , you know, there’s different names. For us… we’ve lost the knowledge of the names of our skin lore systems but my cousins from North Stradbroke are still operating on a skin lore system they’ve adopted from a western desert tribe. But the skin lore system is universal throughout the continent of Australia and it’s a way of identifying who you are in relationship to each other and how we’re to marry. So, you wouldn’t marry someone with the same skin lore name as you because that’s your brother and sister. And they are given based on who your mother and father is. You don’t have the same skin lore name as your mother and father. You’re given a different one. And, so, skin lore people… people who have the same skin lore as your mother and father, the same name, they’re also your mother and father. So, I’ve got an uncle who refers to my grandfather, who’s his nephew, as dad Graham. Because in the skin lore system that’s his father. And, so, it’s a way of also having the ability to be able to be raised or mentored by people and see people as your mother and father in different circles as you would in your same immediate family. And it’s like that old saying, you know, it takes a village to raise a child. And that’s how a skin lore system operates because you could be outside of our tribe or our immediate family but we’re still related in the skin lore. And you can find the connection of skin lore all through Australia. Our people are related on a skin lore system. It’s a way of keeping peace but also it’s practical because it’s about the bloodline, it’s about the gene pool and it’s about respect. Respecting not only Elders and you know you have more than one mother or more than one father. And it’s a way one of identifying who can talk to you the way that your mother does or who can you talk to outside of your immediate family as your brother and sister. You can talk to someone outside of your own age group as you talk to like your brother. You’ll find these relationships even though they are a system and a cycle. You find the common thread between people as someone in the same skin lore name as yourself. So, those are the roles and responsibilities that people can have. It’s like having… I suppose it’s like having… if I had a younger brother, a much younger brother and he’s born at the same time as my son. That’d be his uncle. But they’re the same age and it’s something similar to that. But it’s a very complex system that goes outside of our own immediate circle.