Please note: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, voices or names of deceased persons in photographs, film, audio recordings or printed material.

Some material may contain terms that reflect authors’ views, or those of the period in which the item was written or recorded, but may not be considered appropriate today. These views are not necessarily the views of AIATSIS. While the information may not reflect current understanding, it is provided in an historical context.

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Mutitjulu community

Mutitjulu is the name of the small Aboriginal community located inside the boundary of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, in the shadow of Uluru. It is named after the Mutitjulu waterhole located at the base of Uluru.

The Mutitijulu community is home to Pitjantjatjara, Yankunytjatjara, Luritja, Ngaanyatjarra and other Aboriginal people. The main languages spoken in the community are Pitjantjatjara, Luritja and Yangkunytjatjara.

Anangu is a Pitjantjatjara word which means “people”. Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara people refer to themselves as Anangu.

Anangu homelands cover a vast area in South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. In the mid 1900s, the Piranpa moved many of the Yankunytjatjara to Ernabella Mission in South Australia and the Pitjantjatjara spread across Ernabella, Angus Downs, Tempe Downs, Areyonga and Hermnannsburg Missions in the Northern Territory.

The Ininti Store

The Ininti Store is a focal point for Anangu art and enterprise since its opening in July 1972.

The Docker River Social Club set up the Ininti Store at a site that is now Mutitjulu (the Anangu community), within the Park.

A Northern Territory press release dated 8 September 1972 lauded the success of the venture.

It was considered the first legitimate commercial interest in the Park and was an assertive response to the poor treatment of traditional owners.

Large tourist numbers throughout the 1970s and 1980s produced few benefits for the Anangu but created many problems.

The integrity of important men’s and women’s sites at Uluru and Kata Tjuta were threatened while the rich cultural knowledge of the land was often ignored or misrepresented by visitors and tourist operators.

With the Anangu determined to remain on their traditional lands and have their knowledge, expertise and ownership acknowledged, the Ininti Store was an important part in securing recognition from visitors of their culture, art and knowledge.

The store operated as the community store, servicing both Anangu residents and tourists, until all tourism facilities were moved to the Yulara resort in 1984.

In 1985, to celebrate handback, postcards and other materials were sold from the store to raise awareness about Anangu culture.

Thirty years on the Ininti Store is known as the Ininti Cafe and Souvenirs. Along with food and refreshments it offers a selection of souvenir gifts, books, videos and clothing.

The School

On 21 July 1997 Nyangatjatjara College was established by the Nyangatjatjara Aboriginal Corporation.

The school’s main campus is a boarding facility at Yulara near Uluru.

There are three smaller campuses at Imanpa (180 km east of Uluru), Mutitjulu (at the base of Uluru) and Kaltukatjara, also known as Docker River (230 km west of Uluru.

The college is one of the few secondary education institutions in Central Australia outside a major urban centre.

Five years after opening the college expanded from one building to several temporary buildings across four campuses located in the communities they serve.

The bright colours and staggered rooflines of the Yulara campus showcase an integrated design that harmonises the buildings with the surrounding environment, reflecting the Central Australian sense of land. The design also echoes Uluru’s cultural centre operated by the Anangu people.

The communities are supportive of the college which connects with Anangu values. There are considerable employment prospects in hospitality and resort management at the Yulara complex while National Parks provide training for junior rangers.

Students speak Pitjantjatjara as a first language. Students’ ages range from 12 – 19 years while the number of students at each campus varies. These students represent Anangu’s next generation.

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AIATSIS acknowledges the traditional owners of country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, culture and community.

We pay our respects to elders past and present.