National Geographic : 1956 Mar
Bark Paintings + Tell Tiwi Myths Tribesmen painted these de signs especially for the author on slabs taken from the stringybark tree (below and . page 428). The work sym bolizes folk tales, such as the story of creation. This old favorite relates how Pukwi, the first creator, rose out of the ground and, crawling on her hands and knees, cut the channel between Melville and the mainland. Another story concerns the . ski Sunwoman, who lights her bark torch every morning and travels across the sky gather ing food. At noon the heat from her cooking fire often drives men into the bush. On the western horizon Sun woman puts out her torch and, guided by light from its glow ing end, returns to the east through an underground pas sage. Morning and evening, as she powders herself with ochers to please her husband, some of the dust flies into the air and tints clouds scarlet. tTamaluka decorates a cere monial bark basket. Jane C. Goodale (left) and Charles P. llountford 430 and other lizards. The tender heart of the cabbage palm and "sugar bag" (wild Along the Sands of Melville's Banjo Beac honey) are relished; so are the bitter nuts of the palmlike cycad, which must be soaked for three days before use. Rats and carpet snakes, or pythons, are welcome. Men go after larger game. They occa sionally kill one of the few remaining buf falo, and wallaby, dugong (sea cow), sea turtles, alligator, and fish fall prey to their spears and sticks. They collect turtle eggs, golf-ball size and leather-shelled, which they roast or boil. Most remarkable was the hunters' skill in downing geese with throwing sticks. These arm-long weapons are soaked for weight and "cooked" over a fire to give them magical properties. The fowler aims for neck and wing as the flocks go over at dusk. Even when an aborigine was able to use a gun, he stalked his game until he was within spear range. Cooking is a simple matter for the Tiwi. This is best illustrated by the recipe for roast lizard as Miss Goodale recorded it: 1. Catch one lizard, any variety, by hit ting with a stick; 2. Make small fire and, when burning well, h...