In the early 2010s, after over a decade in existence, the Foundation decided to honor our past and look toward our future with a new name: Tingari-Silverton Foundation.
The word ‘Tingari’
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 songs and the songlines
The paths of the songlines are recorded in traditional songs, stories, dance, and painting. By singing the songs in a time-honored sequence, Indigenous Australians could navigate monumental distances, the words of the song revealing the location of landmarks, waterholes, and other natural phenomena. The melodic contour of a song – the rythm – describes the nature of the land over which the song passes. Listening to and singing the songs of the land is as if walking the songline and experiencing the land. A songline can span the lands of several different language groups.
Aboriginal narratives about Tingari depict powerful male elders travelling in groups, typically followed by or following groups of powerful Tingari women , usually accompanied by newly initiated male and female youth respectively. These journeys with elders – often revolving around the gathering of peoples together – facilitate education on cultural rituals and tribal law and sourcing and preparation of bush foods. Tingari narratives are often illustrated in Australian Aboriginal art.
We honor 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, and be stewards of the land for the next generation
An example of Tingari songlines can be found clicking here.