Here Is My Country - Creation and Country
In Gunditjmara culture we have two totemic moieties, the Red-tailed Black Cockatoo and the white Sulphur-crested Cockatoo. Each family and individual belongs to either the black or white cockatoo moiety. Within each moiety each person also belongs to one of seven or eight other totems, including emu, boa snake, pelican, crow and bat. There are also five different marriage totems with laws guiding marriage and bloodlines within the tribe. You could only marry from the white cockatoo in to the black cockatoo moiety and vice versa.
The designs in this work are details from the feathers of the Red-tailed Black Cockatoo. The large red triangular shapes are the markings on the male cockatoo’s tail feathers and the smaller markings in red and yellow are from the tail and breast feathers of both the male and female cockatoo. This represents the families, women and men of the Gunditjmara.
The Red-tailed Black Cockatoo is rare and endangered (‘unseen’) as its habitat has been destroyed from colonisation and clearing of land for farms.
VICKI COUZENS Keerray Woorroong Gunditjmara