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Minymaku Way: There’s Only One Women’s Council (2000)


This documentary celebrates the 20th anniversary of the formation of the Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women’s Council.

Curator’s notes

In 1980 the Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (NPY) Women’s Council was formed as a response to the women being excluded from important debates. Minymaku Way documents the strength of the Anangu (Indigenous) women, and the implementation of programs that are designed to preserve culture and to heal the ills of the community. The film focuses on 'Malpa’ (working relationships in Pitjantjatjara) between Indigenous and non-Indigenous women, and we witness how the Women’s Council strategise to counteract the increasing attraction of the Anangu youth to Western culture, and the potential loss of cultural knowledge as a result.

The strength of the Women’s Council is evident in the 10-year struggle to get a local publican to not sell liquor to Anangu people. The NPY Women’s Council now boasts a membership of 3,000 and is a powerful political and cultural voice. The documentary shows the women choosing and preparing a song for the opening of the 2000 Olympic Games and the cultural protocols that had to be observed before a song and dance could be chosen, as well as implementing projects within Anangu communities. This documentary is important for showing the proactive ambition of grass roots Indigenous peoples in contesting the afflictions ailing their own communities, and for challenging any prevailing views that Aboriginal communities like these are dependent upon outside bureaucracy to deal with their physical, cultural, spiritual and emotional ailments.