Ganalbingu  - Banda (Long Necked Turtle) by Evonne Gayuwrri

Ganalbingu – Banda (Long Necked Turtle)

The long necked turtle is a dreaming totem for the freshwater people, the Ganalbingu, whose country includes the World Heritage listed, Arafura Wetlands in Central Arnhem Land, Northern Territory

The Yolngu (people) of Arnhem Land originate from a spiritual source, fixed in a particular place in their land or the sea. These ‘Spiritual Reservoirs’ are often in the form of special waterholes made by Wangga (Creator Beings), long ago close to the beginning of time. These creator beings moved across the country side, shaping the land and implanting in each tract of country, the spiritual life force for the people who were to own it.

These creator spirits took many forms. When they gave the land to each group they also gave songs, dances, ceremony, the associated laws and language. The Creation story for Ganalbingu people took place near the middle section of the Glyde River where it becomes the Goyder River. Their land, Ngaliyindi, sits astride the Arafura Swamp in Central Arnhem Land. Some of their major Creative Beings include Banda (freshwater long neck turtle) and Yalman (water lilies).