• Kumpupintil will return to its true name after more than a century since it was changed. (Summerdrought)Source: Summerdrought
Traditional Owners in the Western Desert lands of WA will formally reawaken the name of a significant lake 100-years after a settler mis-labelled it, 'Disappointment Lake'.
Douglas Smith, Aiesha Saunders

12 Nov 2020 - 3:06 PM  UPDATED 12 Nov 2020 - 3:06 PM

The Martu Aboriginal people of the Western Desert lands in Western Australia will return the name of "Kumpupintil" to Lake Disappointment. 

A request made by the Traditional Owners and the Western Desert Lands Aboriginal Corporation, said the name ‘Disappointment’ did not reflect the Martu people’s custodianship and knowledge of the lake and therefore it had to be changed.  

In a statement, WA's Aboriginal Affairs Minister, Ben Wyatt, said his department wanted to assist in the “reawakening” of local languages in the state and 'renaming' places made that easier. 

"The lake has always been known as Kumpupintil to the Martu people, so it's momentous to be formally recognising the name,” said Mr Wyatt.

“These guidelines will help inspire local governments to continue to embrace local language names throughout Western Australia.”

Kumpupintil is a 160km long saltwater lake located 300km from Newman in the Pilbara region. 

The name Kumpupintil foretells the Martu creation story of the lake, where warriors fought in a great battle creating the lake which has been used as a traditional food source and ceremonial ground for generations. 

The lake’s colonial name was given in 1896 by explorer Frank Hann, who felt greatly disappointed when he had followed creeks inland in the hope of finding fresh water. 

In a statement, local Pilbara Member for Parliament, Kevin Michael said he was delighted that the WA government made the decision to acknowledge Martu people’s “ownership and connection” to Country.   

"The renaming reflects traditional language and the importance of Kumpupintil to Martu people,” said Mr Michael.

"I congratulate the Traditional Owners and the Western Desert Lands Aboriginal Corporation on their efforts to have the traditional name recognised."

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