Dianne Ungukalpi Golding story

about Eagle Man and his two wives, Black Crow and White Cockatoo

Dianne Ungukalpi Golding

Warlawurru, Kaarnka, Kakalyalya (Eagle Man, Black Crow, White Cockatoo)(4174-19), tjanpi (wild harvested grass), raffia and wool, 83 H x 90 L x 40 W cm (1), 74 H x 96 L x 34 W cm (II), 83 H x 87 L x 50 W cm (III), sold as a set of three $3,300.00

This is a tjukurrpa about Eagle Man and his two wives, Black Crow and White Cockatoo.
Eagle Man, Black Crow and White Cockatoo, travelled around from rock hole to rock hole. Eagle Man would hunt and bring back meat to share.  He would always give the lovely, soft meat to White Cockatoo, and Black Crow would be left with the hard parts to eat.  White Cockatoo and Black Crow would go looking for maku, one going one way and one the other way.  White Cockatoo would always gently and carefully collect maku – she kept it free of dirt, lovely and clean.  When Black Crow collected maku, she was always careless, messy and dirty. She wasn’t gentle and the maku would break.  When they both came back, Black Crow would see the nice clean maku that White Cockatoo had collected and was cooking proper way. Black Crow would always burn her maku and it would taste terrible.

One day Eagle Man went hunting, chasing kangaroo all day and into the night. It got very late, so he stayed and camped in the bush. When Eagle Man finally returned, White Cockatoo gave him her lovely, clean, well- cooked maku and he ate every last bit.  When Black Crow tried to give him some of her broken, burned maku, Eagle Man refused to eat it because it was dirty and ruined.  Black Crow was angry and jealous of White Cockatoo, because of her ability to collect maku so well, and because Eagle Man always shared his best food with White Cockatoo and always ate the food she gave him.

One day Eagle Man spotted a kangaroo and chased after it to hunt it. He chased it and chased it for a long way and didn’t come back even when it got dark.  While he was gone, White Cockatoo went to get water. She didn’t realise but Black Crow secretly followed her. Black Crow attacked White Cockatoo and crippled her.  White Cockatoo was badly injured, and she crawled away back to her family.  Black Crow made a windbreak for a fire out of a tall anthill. She made a fire and pretended that White Cockatoo was still there.

When Eagle Man finally returned, Black Crow told him that White Cockatoo had gone to have a baby and was resting behind the anthill. Black Crow mimicked the voice of White Cockatoo and the sounds of a baby coming from the anthill. She was trying to trick Eagle Man into giving her the lovely, soft meat he would always give White Cockatoo, so Black crow could take it to her but instead eat it herself.

Eagle Man was so happy! He thought, “When that baby gets bigger, I want them back with me.” Black Crow told Eagle Man she was going to get bush tucker.  But Eagle Man didn’t trust her. He hid in a tree to spy on her.  He watched Black Crow go to the anthill, and then he saw that there was no sign of White Cockatoo or a baby after all.  He realised Black Crow had lied to him and he got very angry.  He went to Black Crow and attacked her until she could no longer walk, she could only crawl very slowly.

Eagle Man went back to the camp. He used leaves to hide his tracks from Black Crow. When Black Crow finally crawled back to camp, she gave him all of the food she had tricked him into giving her in apology. But Eagle Man was still angry, and the next day he planned a trick. He used his hand to make the shape of a goanna track in the sand. He told Black Crow that he had seen a big goanna and pointed to the track. Black Crow eagerly started digging, trying to catch the goanna. She kept digging and digging, but still couldn’t see the goanna. She began to think, “This is a really big hole, I keep digging and digging and it goes in and in further and further.” She dug so far that eventually she was sitting in the hole. It was then that Eagle Man speared her. He put her on the fire.

Eagle Man went to find White Cockatoo so they could be together forever.  Eagle Man, White Cockatoo and Black Crow are no longer people, but you can still see today the Eagle Man flying high in the sky as he hunts for food; the beauty of the White Cockatoo; and Black crow, always foraging for scraps wherever she can.

Copyright for the artwork remains the property of Dianne Golding . Copyright for the text and image remains the property of Tjanpi Desert Weavers