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Arrernte welcoming dance, entrance of the strangers, Alice Springs, Central Australia, 9 May 1901, photograph
Artist Albert Namatjira was a Western Aranda man.

The Arrernte (/ərʌndə/) people, sometimes referred to as the Aranda, Arunta or Arrarnta, are an Aboriginal Australian people who live in the Arrernte lands, at Mparntwe[1][2] (Alice Springs)[a] and surrounding areas of the Central Australia region of the Northern Territory. Some Aranda live in other areas far from their homeland, including the major Australian cities and overseas.

Aranda mythology and spirituality focuses on the landscape and the Dreamtime. Altjira is the creator being of the Inapertwa that became all living creatures. Tjurunga are objects of religious significance.

The Arrernte Council is the representative and administrative body for the Aranda Lands and is part of the Central Land Council.

Tourism is important to the economy of Alice Springs and surrounding communities.[4][b]


Arrernte languages and dialectsEdit

The ancestors of the Aranda all spoke one or more of the Arrernte group of languages/dialects (see below). "Aranda" is a simplified, Australian English approximation of the traditional pronunciation of the name of Arrernte [ˈarəɳ͡ɖa ].[6]

Aranda people speak the following Arrernte dialects/languages:

The Aranda had a highly developed sign language.[11]


The Arrernte's traditional lands, according to Norman Tindale's estimate, encompassed some 47,000 square miles (120,000 km2).[12] Of their overall territory he writes that they were:-

At Mount Gosse, Mount Zeil, and Mount Heughlin; on the Finke River to Idracowra, Blood Creek, Macumba, Mount Dare, and Andado, and some distance east into the sandhills of the Arunta (Simpson) Desert; northeast to Intea on the lower Hale River, thence north to Ilbala on Plenty River; west to Inilja and Hart Range, Mount Swan, Gillen Creek, Connor Well, and Narwietooma; in Central MacDonnell, James, and Ooraminna Ranges.[12]


The name Aranda refers to the following distinct groups (or "mobs"):

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Earlier the town was also referred to as Tjoritja, the word for the MacDonnell Ranges, and also frequently as Kapmanta (etymologically, kaputa(head) plus manta (thick), because it struck Arrernte visitor as so many packed corrugated roofs together ('head' as in househead/roof) ('In neuerer Zeit wird Alice Springs häufig Kapmanta genannt:kap ist eine Abkürzing von kaputa = Kopf und manta = dicht.) Kapmanta heißt wörtlich: dichter Kopf. Gemeint sind:dichte Dächer (Dach = des Hauses Kopf) weil hier die Eingeboreren zuerst mit Wellblech gedeckte Dächer gesehen haben'.[3]
  2. ^ The Aranda way of life is presented through tour guides and storytellers speaking of the life, their artwork, their culture and language in a variety of different ways. Tours are run regularly to Hermannsburg and Wallace Rockhole, both of which are (Western) Aranda,[5] so as to learn more about the Aranda way of life, from their artwork to their culture and language.
  3. ^ In Western Aranda lands the preferred spelling for their language is 'Arrarnta' or 'Aranda'.[9]
  4. ^ 'The Arandic group whose culture Carl Strehlow documented in great detail identify themselves today as Western Aranda or Arrarnta. They call themselves sometimes Tyurretyerenye, meaning 'belonging to Tyurretye', and refer to their Arandic dialect as Western or Tyurretye Arrernte.' '[10]


  1. ^ Brooks 1991.
  2. ^ Short 2013, p. 196.
  3. ^ Strehlow 1907, p. 42, n.7.
  4. ^ Ryan, Deane & Cunningham 2008, pp. 286–288.
  5. ^ AAA&CC.
  6. ^ Turpin 2004.
  7. ^ Kearney 2007.
  8. ^ Dixon 2002, p. xxxix.
  9. ^ Kenny 2013, p. xvii.
  10. ^ Kenny 2013, p. 6.
  11. ^ Kendon 1988, pp. 49–50.
  12. ^ a b Tindale 1974, pp. 220–221.


External linksEdit