Deathscapes

Ward 3d - Staying Strong

Deathscapes

Staying Strong

[imagecaption] ‘Entrapped’, 2014. Photo: Jason Thomas. Sunset over the Clutterbuck Hills – Mr Ward’s country in the Gibson Desert. [/imagecaption]

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‘We have to stay in contact with one another to stay strong. Every community has a lot of respect for each other’s country. That is why we support one another and don’t let any one community go down.’

I. Ward


Mr Ward’s death profoundly affected the Ngaanyatjarra people and in particular the land and community development aspirations of his close family at Patjarr Community. In accordance with customary funerary dictates, the people of Patjarr dispersed upon his death. Into the vacuum of an emptying residential community the state acted to remove vital civic services, including the schools and the clinic. This reduced the viability of the community after funerary rituals were complete and people were once more under customary law able to return to their homeland settlement.

(Based on a longer narrative prepared for Deathscapes by Jan Turner.)


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