The Martu are the traditional owners of a large part of central Western Australia. This area extends from the Great Sandy Desert in the north to around Wiluna in the south. Across this country, Martu share a common law, culture and language.
The Martu were some of the last of Australia’s Indigenous people to make contact with European Australians. Many migrated from their desert lands into neighbouring pastoral stations and missions in the 1950s and 1960s.
Like many Aboriginal people, Martu speak or understand numerous languages. For most Martu, even the children, English is a second or more language.
In 2002, the Martu were awarded native title rights to over 13.6 million hectares of the Western Desert. This is referred to as the Martu native title determination. The Martu determination has enormous cultural significance for them. The lands are literally ‘alive’ with thousands of cultural sites (many of them water sources), song lines, stories, ceremonies, history and tangible materials such as occupation sites, objects and artefacts.
Elders have first-hand experience of traditional life and have extensive traditional ecological knowledge of their country. This provides an important and time-limited opportunity to preserve and transfer this knowledge before they pass away.
Infuse’ Indigenous immersion programs in the Pilbara incorporate incredible opportunities for interacting with, and learning from, the Martu people.