Our Traditional Owners

The Anindilyakwa Aboriginal people are the traditional owners of the Groote Eylandt archipelago region and are referred to by their language name, ‘Anindilyakwa’.

The Anindilyakwa have occupied Groote Eylandt for some eight thousand years, and 14 clans live in the archipelago area. The three main Indigenous communities—Angurugu, Milyakburra and Umbakumba—are home to about 1500 people. All 14 clans still strongly embrace their culture and ceremonial traditions.

The Anindilyakwa language is thought to be one of the most ancient in Australia. Uncommonly for Indigenous groups, the traditional Anindilyakwa language is the first language spoken among all 14 clan groups.

In 2006, the Groote Eylandt archipelago was officially declared an Indigenous Protected Area, giving ownership and management of the archipelago’s land and sea country to Anindilyakwa clans.

The Anindilyakwa people pride themselves on their hospitality and are very welcoming to visitors to Groote Eylandt.

There are many ways you can engage with the Anindilyakwa people, learn about their culture and see their amazing art, which is highly prized by collectors all over the world. All guests are welcomed to the lodge with an introduction to Anindilyakwa art and culture by a traditional owner and a tour of the art gallery.