Barbara Tjikatu Nipper is minyma ulkumunu, a senior Pitjantjatjara woman. She has been a longtime a cultural advisor for the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and experienced in many areas of research, land management, tourism and the arts. She feels strongly about the traditional knowledge which she can pass on to visitors to her country. She has been a spirited cultural ambassador since the 1980s when her late husband was a traditional owner fighting for the handback of Uluru. Barbara was a member of the first National Park Board of Joint Management and has worked in almost every aspect of the park: as a manual labourer, as a prime mover behind the establishment of the Cultural Centre and three park businesses and as a negotiator with Australian Government and Northern Territory ministers. After retiring from work as as a Senior Cultural interpretations Ranger with the Park’s Public Education, Interpretations and Media Department, she continued to work until recently as a consultant in the National Park and strong advocate in community affairs.
In 2006 Barbara was made a Member of the Order of Australia, “For service to the Indigenous community of the Northern Territory as an Anangu Elder, and in the preservation and management of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.”
As an artist she is an experienced carver of traditional women’s tools and contemporary animal forms. In 2008 she began working with felt, translating her Tjukurpa with equal passion in the new medium. Barbara says she wants to retire to her children’s country near Uluru and weave baskets from local grasses for a living.