The Seven Sisters – Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Jukurrpa

Pleiades, The Seven Sisters Constellation, can be seen worldwide, and stories about The Seven Sisters resonate from far and wide, not just one story, but many versions crisscrossing continents, varying in each language group and country.  It’s a special story.

For the Anangu Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara lands, Inawinytji Williamson, senior law woman and traditional owner of The Seven Sisters Songline, said, “Dreaming creation law is strongly held and it’s important to teach future generations about it.”

To the Aboriginal people it is a tale of flight and pursuit as the sisters (Ancestral Women) flee from Wati Nyiru’s (an Ancestral Being) advances. The sisters travel over land and sky from Western Australia into the APY lands, and later into Warlpiri country, where the sisters become the Napaljarri-warnu. But … Wati Nyiru is forever lying in wait, sometimes capturing a sister or two, sometimes tricking them, and always spying on them. It is a dramatic tale of creation, lust and love, flight and survival, passion and danger.

The Seven Sisters – Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara story/songline begins from Irawa Bore in the north and zigzags its way south to Alkara in South Australia.  Along the way the sisters stop at various sites but Wati Nyiru is forever behind them or waiting for them. They see Nyiru spying on them at Atila, a flat-topped mountain (Mount Conner). The sisters flee south and stop at Wiapula waterhole where they sing and splash, but Nyiru soon appears. The sisters disappear underground and follow the subterranean waterways, coming to the top at No. 3 Bore. Nyiru is there! They hurry south, past Mulga Park to Walinynga, where they build a spinifex shelter known today as Cave Hill. Nyiru is there! He seals the entrance to stop them from escaping. They dig a small opening at the rear with their coolamons, and whirl southwards past Kuli into other lands. Nyiru always close-by. The designs in this painting depict the flora and fauna found in the area.