Oondoorrd: Married Turtle [from The CAAMA Collection]
For the Bardi people of the Dampier Peninsula north of Broome in the West Kimberley, it is Oondoorrd time, a time of celebration and friendly competition as young men try to spear their first 'married turtle' - a rite of passage into being a good hunter of turtles. Irene Davey, an Elder from the West Kimberley region, talks about her people's traditional association with the sea: "we are saltwater people ... the ocean is our shop". From the ocean they catch fish, shellfish and dugong but the special treat of all is the Oondoorrd, the female turtle in the mating season, with eggs inside her. Irene's son, Gordon Davey, and younger family members go hunting for turtle in a dinghy with an outboard motor, and, with much excitement, catch an ordinary turtle by hand before pursuing and spearing the special Oondoorrd. The trip is partly to catch the turtle for food, but also to teach the younger generation how to hunt in the ocean. Finally, the catch is cooked and shared between community members, to Irene's satisfaction.