“My country is Pulpul where there is a big rockhole. Auntie heard all of the people chasing her nephew. They thought he was a malu because he was dressed in a kangaroo skin. When she heard them coming closer auntie thumped on the ground so that they could all get to the water through a tunnel under the groun. When they went through the tunnel auntie blocked the way so that they could not get out. Men, women and children. They are still there. When I was a child we used to go in through the tunnel to get water with a firebrand to them away.”
Karrika Belle Davidson, Pitjantjatjara woman, was born around 1942 at Pulpul rock near Papulankutja (Blackstone). When she was a child her mother died and Karrika, her sister Tjawina Roberts and borther Tjurparu Watson were taken to Warburton mission by family. Karrika learnt to read and write at the mission and has fond memories of her time there. She frequently went back to her country where she was taught how to survive in the desert and the tjukurpa associated with it. When Karrika was sixteen she went to live with family at Patinintjara, the first community established at Papulankutja, where she worked as a housemaid for the manager of the recently established nickel mine.
Karrika recalls camping in the bush near Warburton with her first son and other anangu as a young mother when the atomic bombs were exploded at Maralinga. She and many others became very ill and were picked up by the Native Patrol truck and driven to Warburton mission where sick anangu were lying in every building including the school classrooms.
As a powerful speaker Karrika is a great advocate for anagu. Karrika was a founding member of Irrunytju Arts and Chair of Ngaanyatjarra Media. She is an excellent storyteller and knows the complex layers pf many tjukurpa that traverse and intersect in the region. She lives with her family in Irrunytju where she works as a painter, translator and producer of stort documentaries about local culture. Karrika has been involved in many events including the development of inma performances and participating in the opening event of the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.
“Painting - is very important because it is about the land of the oldies, they make up stories, do painting. It is very important to them, to us, to everyone. Some are people doing their own stories by thinking, doing the painting of the country that belongs to the oldies. Because the oldies know the stories of the country. It is very important for the story that they do the painting, It’s important that they think about the country, how it is. It’s the heart of the people, it belongs to them, Abd the oldies know, It’s very true. They don’t it by anybody telling them, they know. They know the country is very important to them and to everybody.”