Untjima Fred Forbes was born at a waterhole near the community of Jameson, 80 kilometres to the west of Blackstone, where he now lives.
As he was born at a waterhole that was created by some travelling Kalaya (emu) people who came from far away to the west, Untjima Forbes is of this Dreaming. There were no kartiya (non-Aboriginal) settlements in Ngaanyatjarra country during his early childhood, and the only kartiya that his relatives had ever seen were the few prospectors and 'doggers' who had wandered into these remote desert parts with their camels.
Untjima Forbes has keen memories of his early life, and tells long narratives of his family's 'foot-walking' travels. He lists the sequence of waterholes visited, the people in the party, and events, both routine and unexpected, which occurred along the way.
Though he came into contact with the Warburton Mission soon after it was established in 1932, Untjima and his family (and many other of their relatives) kept up their travelling, hunting and gathering way of life in the bush for many years and resisted learning to read and write or speak formal English.
Untjima Forbes has an intimate knowledge of the Ngaanyatjarra landscape and its features over an area of several thousand kilometres. He has the best knowledge of the immensely detailed Dreamings and song lines of the desert in the region. He actively sought this knowledge from his elders and has begun to record on canvas some of his knowledge and feelings about his country.