Nike the bäru

Nike the bäru (crocodile) lives at Bawaka homeland and is part of our family. Bäru are a totem of the Gumatj clan and the bäru story is a sacred story. There is sacred story about the baru that is only kept by the Gumatj tribe.

Nike came to Bawaka as a little one and has been living as part of our family ever since. We found Nike on the beach in a ghost net when she was a baby. One day we heard a barking sound that sounded like a dingo, but it was Nike calling out for help. We took her to Mum and Dad’s house, and we nursed her back to health. There was a little pond where Nike used to swim when she was little, and sometimes the children of our community joined her.

Nike now lives back in the wild but visits our family most days. Nike is a very smart bäru and can understand some Yolŋu Matha and responds when we say to her ‘Yaka’ which means stay in the water, or ‘Gu’ which means to come.

We gave Nike her name when Australian Olympic champion Cathy Freeman was visiting the nearby homeland of Dhaniya and went for a run wearing her Nike branded joggers. We saw Cathy running and we decided we would name our bäru friend Nike.