Through our clans and in our kinship groups we each have the animals that Balanda (non-Aboriginal Australians) call “totems” and we call malargatji. We represent and become our special animals when we dance for young-man business, for funerals and other ceremonies.
We paint their special designs on our bodies and today also on bark and paper to share that special connection between the people and the animals of the land and sea. When we are hunting we watch birds and animals for signs. Sometimes these are ancestors sending us a message — if we know how to listen. Animals communicate with us sometimes to warn or alert us. Cockatoos let us know if outsiders are coming.