Mamoose – Chief Mamoose


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Chief Mamoose is chosen by members of the ‘Kwod’, and is a traditional speaker about custom and law before feasts. He details and reminds those in attendance about proper island life – the way things are, and should be maintained and passed on to future generations. Mamoose makes sure traditions get taught and practised, using these opportunities to always say “wherever you go your culture and your language are your identity”. Certain words are known and said only on these occasions, and people know not to say them in public as a reminder that proper use of language is very important. Mamoose wears headgear with stars on it above his head, as stars assist with identifying constellations. The Zugubau Maibaigal [Constellation People] are renowned for following and using the stars to assist with hunting, seeing in them the pointers to seasonal change in food availability and other things like mating seasons etc. So in a way, these patterns – of stars and behaviour – are a metaphor for the certain ways in which things are governed, and the way things are. Another way of thinking this is that if people are wanting rain, or wind, then there are protocols and specific people to talk to, just as there are important stories to be told that identify the relationship between custodian and responsibility. These are told when big groups get together and said as a reminder before feasting begins. Mamoose tells about the people responsible for governing certain things, and invites people to follow the law and protocol. This way the totems are protected and perpetuated.

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Additional information

Weight 1.5 kg
Dimensions 70 × 9 × 9 cm

Dennis Nona



Edition Size

Publishers Proof (one only)


Torres Strait Islands


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Paper Size



Basil Hall Editions, Darwin NT




Basil Hall