Aboriginal Culture

Learn about the rich culture of the traditional land owners.

Uluru is more than just a rock, it is a living cultural landscape that of which is considered sacred to the Yankunytjatjara and Pitjantjatjara people. These people of the land are the traditional owners and guardians of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. This special place carries great spiritual and cultural significance for these local indigenous tribes with over 40 sacred aboriginal sites and eleven Tjurkurpa or Dreaming trails present in the area.

The Anangu people belong to the oldest culture known to man dating back 60,000 years. They believe that their culture has always existed in Central Australia and that this landscape was created at the beginning of time by the travels of great ancestral beings. Uluru and Kata Tjuta are said to provide physical evidence of these ancient events and have been used for traditional ceremonies and rites of passage for over 10,000 years.

Although, the once nomadic lifestyle of the Anangu people has changed, they still continue to live by these ancient laws and traditions passed down through Dreamtime stories from their ancestors. These laws, or Tjukurpa, provide the foundations of this unique culture and governs all relationships between people, the land and all living things. These spiritual and cultural connections are still strong today.

The spirits of the ancestral beings continue to reside in these sacred places making the land a deeply important part of Aboriginal cultural identity. Each visitor to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is invited to share in these traditional beliefs and hear stories of this ancient land and how it came to be. Members of Anangu society have inherited and are responsible for their own Dreamtime stories and ceremonies associated with specific sites and their place of birth. The Dreaming is a complex network of knowledge, beliefs and practices belonging to their community, to families and to individuals. It is seen as powerful living force that must be maintained and cared for, it is considered their duty to respect and look after the earth and pass these ancient traditions on for all of time.

Sacred Sites

Some areas of the park including areas around Uluru /Ayers Rock and Kata Tjuta / Mount Olga are considered sacred to the Anangu people. They may not be visited, filmed or photographed out of respect for their culture. While visitors are encouraged to learn about and visit this special place they are asked to respect the traditions and culture of the indigenous people. Sites that are sacred are clearly marked on visitors maps obtained at the cultural Centre.

Climbing Uluru itself is not prohibited however Anangu asks visitors to respect their spiritual beliefs and refrain from climbing the monolith as it has a strong cultural importance to them and their history. In addition to the cultural reasons, climbing the rock can be very hazardous and in the past more than 30 people have lost their lives trying to reach the top. There are signs placed around the region asking you not to climb Uluru and it’s advised you adhere to these pleas.

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