Aboriginal People

Arrernte

The Arrernte (pronounced Arrunda) people are the traditional owners of Mparntwe (pronounced m’barn-twa) – the Alice Springs area.

Arrernte stories describe how the landscape surrounding Alice, including the MacDonnell Ranges, was created by the actions of their ancestors, the caterpillar beings Ayepe-arenyeNtyarlke and Utnerrengatye. Creation stories also explain the traditional connection with more distant areas such as Urlatherrke (Mount Zeil) in the West MacDonnell Ranges, to Port Augusta in South Australia.

There are additional traditional stories involving the shaping of the local landscape by wild dogs, travelling boys, two sisters, euros and other ancestral figures. As such, there are many sites of great significance to the Arrernte. Some of the earliest stories ever recorded for posterity by non-Indigenous historians were the stories from the Arrernte people of Central Australia.

Arrernte people living in Mparntwe today continue to observe traditional law, look after the country, and teach their children Arrernte language and the importance of culture.

Town Camps

The Alice Springs Community Living Areas (also known as town camps) are Aboriginal communities within the township. Town camps fall under the jurisdiction of the Northern Territory Government, which retains fiscal responsibility for providing municipal and essential services for the management of housing, open spaces, roads, parks and community centres within town camp areas. Further information can be found here.

Tangentyere Council is the service delivery agency for the 18 town camps in Alice Springs. Their website can be found here.

Alice Springs Town Council

Alice Springs Town Council’s vision is for a vibrant and growing community that embraces its diverse cultural heritage, unique identity and desert living environment.

With this vision front of mind, Council’s staff policies aim to consolidate and strengthen the existing connection with Aboriginal Peoples by focusing attention on sensitive, practical ways to recruit, retain, and build lasting relationships with employees from the local Indigenous community.

Council’s actionable strategies are also designed to guide all its employees forward in their cultural awareness, and to encourage further engagement and fostering of connections between non-Aboriginal and Indigenous colleagues.