Woman with Pukamani Pole at Funeral

The girl in the photo is grieving for her father as women mourn the dead and cling to poles during a Cleansing ceremony on Tiwi Islands. Culture here seems to be more intact because this place is an island and just more removed from modern western culture.  <br />
A cleansing ceremony is the final ceremony in the death of a family member.  A year or so after the funeral the family paints pukamani poles and places them around the grave.  <br />
In some communities people won't say the name of the deceased or go back into the home until there is a big cleansing rain.  But rituals vary. <br />
Relatives of this family brought pukamani poles from Snake Bay on the other side of the island.  They continued with this ceremony even though there was an impending cyclone.  Even though the ceremony is supposed to be a year or two after the death--often it is held just before Xmas at the beginning of the wet because everyone gets their Xmas club money around that time and there is an exchange of money at the end of the ceremony. The family pays the dancers and totem carvers. <br />
Tiwi has two islands--Bathurst and Melville.  This ceremony is in the town of Garden Point on Melville Island.  Melville Island is 2nd largest island in Australia.