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The Lumen Seed: working with Warlpiri people to prevent indigenous suicide

Judith Crispin | Australia

Four Kurdu-kurdu [Kids] with Trampoline (Lajamanu Community NT, December 2015)

"Country [Gurindji country], hills . . . well, I put country first . . . hills, tree, don’t like you—even that water—and that is true. If you drink water from that, or if you not talking to that country because you don’t know, you got no songs with that area . . . and in the night, or during the day too, you got no language for to try to talk to that country.

When God bin put you there, in your country, that’s it. You got a right to live on there. You can get sick alright, but not too much. Yuwayi, you know God? He say, “Yeah you get sick but you’ll be alright,” you know? “I’m with you there,” that God talking. And same thing for our ceremony too. You’re right to use your ceremony. You’re right to sing your own Dreaming song and talking to your country . . . and tell it true—real true."
(Jerry Jangala)

I am working with the Warlpiri community in the Australian Tanami desert on an indigenous suicide prevention app. We are losing three aboriginal people a week to suicide, and an indigenous person is four times more likely to take their own life than a non-indigenous person. These photographs form the basis of my book The Lumen Seed (Daylight Books). I began taking them before I became part of this remote community, before the Warlpiri gave me new names, taught me dancing and ceremony, and showed me the incredible beauty of indigenous philosophy.The app will be called Kurdiji (shield). It takes its name from a body of Warlpiri knowledge normally transmitted as part of the Kurdiji initiation ceremonies for young people. The Kurdiji ideas have been successfully used by the Warlpiri to increase resilience and prevent suicide. The Warlpiri told me about Kurdiji during my efforts to discover the truth about my own indigenous ancestry. Kurdiji 1.0 Aborigial suicide prevention app is crowdfunding at www.kurdijiproject.com Please help if you can, or share our video.


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