chapter  2
18 Pages

Solidarity in Shared Loss: Death-related Observances among the Martu of the Western Desert

ByMyrna Tonkinson

In this chapter, I provide an account of contemporary mortuary practices among the Martu of the Western Desert of Western Australia, and evaluate the impact of these practices on Martu society. I argue that funerals, despite taking an enormous toll on the affected individuals, families and communities, serve to affirm cultural identity and vitality. Through participation in mortuary ceremonies, Martu exercise a degree of agency and control in circumstances of change that can be traumatic, asserting continuities with their cultural roots.