What does Tjapukai mean?
Tjapukai means “Rainforest”
Bama means People, thus the term “People of the Rainforest” which is often used to describe Tjapukai.
Migration – Tjapukai people were nomads within their own tribal boundaries.
Firestick farming – The Tjapukai people would trade within the tribe or with their neighbouring tribes.
Beliefs – The major beliefs are in the Elder’s knowledge and reincarnation.
Tribal law – The Tjapukai people are very adaptable. They cope with their own laws (lores) as well as todays laws.
Tjapukai is not as severe as some other tribal groups in Australia when it comes to physical punishments, for example some tribes would spear each other in the leg as a punishment, you will not find that with the Tjapukai people. However, all tribes inflict the harshest of all punishments, which is Ostrasisation – to be banished from your family or your own community or town.
Ceremonies today are not as traditional as they were many years ago. Traditional cooking of food underground is rare. Initiations, promised and arranged marriages are a thing of the past, within the Tjapukai tribe.
Women’s & Men’s Business
Even though Tjapukai is seen as a Patriarchal tribe, men did their own business, women did theirs. Yet they would all get together when all clans celebrated or when neighbouring tribes visited.
The Community Today
The Tjapukai community can be seen today as “Village in the Rainforest”, one of the major tourists towns in the Far North Queensland. It is home to the majority of the Djabugay people, if not the outer indigenous communities – Oak Forest, Mantaka, Korowra, Koah and Mona Mona.