I Am An Adopted Aborigine

The current background photo of this Blog is a shot of me taking a photo of two Chestnut-quilled Rock Pigeons in Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory.
Chestnut-quilled Rock-pigeon, Petrophassa rufipennis that I am photographing in that photograph.
In 2012, while birding in the region, Denise Lawungkurr Goodfellow took us into Arnhem Land. She is an adopted Aborigine (you can read about her in her wonderful book, “Quiet Snake Dreaming”) and we went to visit some of her relatives in Gunbalanya (or Oenpelli).
Lynn waving as we walked to the lagoon in Gunbalanya.
We had a lovely day, spending much of the time with Una, Denise’s “daughter-in-law” (name related to the adoptive nature of the relationship). I loved Una immediately. It was one of those connections I have written about before. They just happen and you know it when they do, and I am grateful.

Una and me. It was as if I had known her for years.
We visited Una’s daughter and met her beautiful grandson (and their Water Buffalo). Then as we were about to leave, it was made known to me that Una had adopted me into the tribe. She decided that I was family, and it was as easy as that. I was humbled and honored. In the time we had spent together, Una had “taken my measure” and wanted me as family. That is as deeply wonderful a compliment as I can imagine receiving. I am a member of the Ngalanbali clan of the Kunwinjku people and I am grateful.
Una's grandson, such a beautiful baby.
A Water Buffalo and me. It was one of the most solid creatures I have ever petted.
So in my limited understanding of the nomenclature, Denise is my Yabok (my elder sister- not regarding actual age) and I am her Dada (younger brother). As Denise’s brother, I am Una’s “father-in-law.” She refers to me as mamma Bruce and I call her mamma Una. I do not truly understand the exact relationship, or even the meaning of these names; I just know that I am honored to be a part of Una’s family. I do not make a big deal out of this in general, but I cherish this honor and decided that I wanted to share it here in my blog, because why? Because I am grateful!

My Yabok Denise and my Mamma Una, I can hardly wait to see them!
Yes, I will be seeing Una and Denise again next year when we travel the Northern Territory in early autumn. I can hardly wait! I am very grateful.

Birds. Peace. Love. Earth. Laughter. Music.