About Tingari-Silverton

In 2013, the Foundation decided to honor our past and look toward our future with a new name: Tingari-Silverton Foundation.

Tingari is an Australian Aboriginal word referring to a series of sacred and secret songlines – extensive journeys by Aboriginal men and women across the vast Australian outback. The group of ancestral spirit beings known as the Tingari brought law and culture to the Aboriginal peoples of the Western Desert. Their journeys involve important sites and activities covering a huge geographic area stretching from Pintupi country 250 kilometres west of Alice Springs, and southwest to the Great Sandy and Tanami deserts.

The paths of the songlines are recorded in traditional songs, stories, dance, and painting. By singing the songs in the appropriate sequence, Indigenous Australians could navigate monumental distances, the words of the song revealing the location of landmarks, waterholes, and other natural phenomena. A songline can span the lands of several different language groups, different parts of the song are said to be in those different languages. Languages are not a barrier because the melodic contour of the song describes the nature of the land over which the song passes. The rhythm is what is crucial to understanding the song. Listening to the song of the land is the same as walking on this songline and observing the land.

In Pintupi Aboriginal narratives about Tingari, they depict powerful male elders travelling in Tingari groups, typically followed by or following groups of powerful Tingari women.  Both male and female groups were typically accompanied by male and female youth respectively, to whom the elders provided ritual education and passed on tribal law. Women’s narratives often revolve around the gathering of peoples together and the preparation of bush foods. Tingari narratives are often illustrated in Australian Aboriginal art.

Our Foundation honors the themes of the Tingari songlines and the knowledges passed down from generation to generation deep in the red desert plains of Australia:

  • The importance of education to survival
  • The power of education across generations and the role of elders in educating the young
  • The potent nature of effective communication in relationships, culture, and harmonious living across different language groups
  • The critical nature of social networks – vertical as well as horizontal
  • The vital role of community and social gatherings for education, communication, and life
  • The contribution of songs, dance, theatre and the arts to survival and well being
  • The empowerment of the young as a natural part of the human life cycle
  • The fundamental importance of being connected to the land, knowing how to live with the land, respect the land, be stewards of the land for the next generation

An example of Tingari songlines can be found clicking here.