Larrakia Culture, Larrakia Traditional Owners
Larrakia are the traditional Aboriginal people of Darwin including across the Darwin Harbour to Cox Peninsula and also the outer Darwin region. Larrakia Aboriginal culture and identity is rich and vibrant best described by the most senior knowledgeable Larrakia Traditional Owner and Elder for Larrakia Country, Raylene Singh who was born and lives in the Belyuen Aboriginal Community across the Darwin Harbour. Raylene holds the knowledge and cultural authority for all Larrakia Country and has the responsibility to carry on the traditions.
“I am strong in my culture and my Country is my life - the way I was taught by my mother and my father and my Grandfather and Grandmother. We Traditional Owners know this land and know how to look after it and we know what our Country wants. Our Country our, waters and everything that lives here - our people, the fish, the birds, the animals, insects plants and landscape have to be looked after; this is our Country that we were born into and have lived here for many, many generations. We can not talk about some things that are sacred but we teach that to all our children to learn and carry on our culture because it is our law. We have the most beautiful places and sacred sites that we look after to make sure everything is protected and safe from people who don’t know our Country. We look after Country the proper way that we were taught. You have to ask us first if before you do anything on our Country to get our permission so we can let Country know what is going on otherwise it will cause trouble for everyone and everything. To go onto Traditional lands you have to get a permit for the Traditional Owners to authorise which me, my brother and sister have responsibility to do so, but I am the senior one that the land council and the government ask for permission too.
My Mother (Olga Singh) taught me cultural knowledge to look after my country and not to let anyone or anything destroy it. It is very special to be taught so much and I must respect that and do the right thing by all my ancestors and my family. I am the eldest of the Traditional Owners for Larrakia and the judge even recognised that in our land claim we won after a very long time giving our evidence. It took over thirty years and we are still waiting for our land hand back to us the Traditional Owners. My mother gave her knowledge in the evidence in the land claim to win Kenbi for us Traditional Owners including my brother and my sister and she got it from her mother and my grandfather Imabulg, who is Tommy Lyons. We are the Tommy Lyons Group that won the Kenbi Land Claim after all the years of proving who we are and that we are Larrakia and that we live on our Country to protect it. My father fought to protect our rights as the Traditional Owners and he would be so proud how we are looking after everything. My Father also started the KENBI DANCERS and we still have our dances and our corroborees that belong to us. There is so much to protect and only we have the knowledge to do that. Nobody else can do that but Traditional Owners”.
As the senior Larrakia Elder Traditional Owner, Raylene Singh heads up the Cultural Awareness Program "ASK FIRST" at Radio Larrakia. Part of Cultural Awareness training is cultural day on her Country. This includes Larrakia, non-Larrakia Indigenous and the wider community, corporate groups, community groups and organisations. The cultural training days are an integral part of Raylene’s role at Radio Larrakia as an Indigenous broadcaster and who importantly guides the Radio Larrakia Cultural Protocols and Ethics in broadcasting media.
Raylene hosts participants on a four wheel drive tour and shares cultural knowledge about caring for country, fire stick farming ‘burning off’, sacred sites and places, fishing techniques, hunting, bush tucker, cooking in a relaxing and culturally enriched environment.