An insight into the traditional belief systems of the GAMILARAAY nation. This continent is home to hundreds of autonomous nation states with unique cultures, languages and traditions.
By Paul Spearim, GAMILARAAY
The story begins with BUWADJARR travelling throughout and within creation. BUWADJARR came from a place that was called GAMILU-BIDI WII (before the big light or the centre of the universe).
BUWADJARR had also passed on to us that traditionally in Gamilaraay we are not allowed to mention him by name (BAAYAMI). So we have to call him BUWADJARR which means creator, supreme father or fathers’ fathers’ father. The only time that you are allowed to mention his name is when you have been fully initiated.
Gamilaraay was created in a time when there was nothing, it was completely empty. Then BUWADJARR created our nation and now we have GAMILARAAY. If we break it down, we have GAMIL which means no/not and ARAAY which means having. Because now we have something and that is Gamilaraay.
He also passed onto us that storytelling, or more importantly BINANGGAL GAAYAA WANA-GI, listening too law and throwing words from the almighty father BUWADJARR, is how we as descendants of OLD GAMIL have always maintained a spiritual connection to our creation. OLD GAMIL is a word used along with BURRUGUU to describe when creation happened.
The first thing he did after travelling through the universe was that he created BIRRAYBIRRAAY (Orion’s Belt). This was a resting place within the centre of it for the lost spirits of any young boys and men.
BUWADJARR’s five wives also travelled with him and they were also very powerful. His five wives came from BARIYAN NGAMA, the Pleiades Constellation. Of BUWADJARR’s five wives, BIRRANGULU was the oldest and the carrier of all women’s knowledge. GANHANBILI, who was a few years younger, was the carrier of all women’s business and law. They were the older and wiser of the wives, and they had all the power and control.
The three younger wives were NGALIIR who was the holder of all umbilical cords, MUBALYAAL who was the carrier of all births, and finally the youngest of his wives NGAMU who was the carrier of all breast milk, nourishment and food. They all listened and learnt about creation from BIRRANGULU, GANHANBILI and more importantly from BUWADJARR.
These five wives also created a resting place called MIYAYMIYAAY, which was in the centre of the Pleiades Constellation. This was also a resting place that the young girls and women’s spirits could go.
After BUWADJARR had found a place that was suitable, he began creating us, the animals, plants, rivers, mountains and everything else that is found within Gamilaraay. This allows all living things in Gamilaraay to live as sentient organisms in OLD GAMIL.
Source: Brisbane Blacks
Then BUWADJAAR placed all of the Gamilaraay people into two main blood groups, the first being GUWAYMADHAN, the dark blood group, created from the ground low down and high up. Then we have GUWAYGALIYARR which is the light blood group that had among other things, the YARUDHAGAA, the matrilineal line of descent which all of Gamilaraay have to follow. YARUDHAGAA was created by BUWADJARR’s five wives.