“ This language belongs to
this country, the Wapar ”
Shannon Kanytji, Mimili Maku artist and traditional owner.
Wapar is the Yankunytjatjara word
for Ancestral or creation stories

An Introduction

Yankunytjatjara Lands extends from Amata/Nyapari in the west to Uluru and across to Imanpa/Kulgera (in the Northern Territory) then down to Oodnadatta and Coober Pedy.

This language is a part of the Western Desert region in Central Australia. Today, speakers of the Yankunytjatjara language live right across South Australia, Northern Territory.

The Land Rights Act did not recognize Yankunytjatjara language until Yankunytjatjara Elder and Traditional Owner, Mr. Yami Lester bought it to the attention of the Pitjantjatjara Council Directors in 1979 and in the year 1981 it was changed to recognize Yankunytjatjara as one of the traditional languages of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands (APY Lands).

The Project


The Yankunytjatjara Wangka Project is a collaborative project involving Mimili Anangu School; Mobile Language Team, University of Adelaide and the Mimili Maku Art Centre.

This project aims to bring awareness about the Yankunytjatjara language, which is highly endangered, to the wider community. It also highlights the work the elders are doing to promote and maintain their language for the future generation through their art, culture, music, land management and traditional knowledge.