The Mpakwithi First Nation were a people described by Thomson (1934) and Sharp (1939) as being a sub-group of the Anguthimri clan which was divided into North, South, East and West clusters which were exogamous.
All Anguthimri (those languages which uses ‘Angu’ for the first person singular, followed by proprietive ‘-thimri’) were described as living in the area of Port Musgrave (North), Albatross Bay(South), the Gulf of Carpenteria (East) and the Wenlock River (West). This is not representative of land ownership but of areas where Anguthimri speakers were known to range.
The Mpakwithi’s remaining elders now live in New Mapoon (3 sisters) and Weipa (their first cousin). They are leading the culturo-linguistic revival of Mpakwithi. The revival is built on reconstruction and standardisation of the language described by Crowley (1981) in his salvage grammar sketch.
Following the massacres led by Frank Jardine and Lachlan Kennedy during the 1860’s, members of many decimated tribes, including Mpakwithi, settled at the Old Mapoon mission on the traditional lands of the Tjugundji Nation. In 1963 the Director of Native Affairs ordered police to remove the residents of Old Mapoon and burn their community to the ground to make way for a mining lease. The Mpakwithi and other residents of Old Mapoon were relocated to New Mapoon, near Bamaga, at the northernmost tip of Cape York Peninsula, where they now live. Susan Kennedy and her sisters Victoria Kennedy and Agnes Mark are reviving their Mpakwithi language. Susan’s grandfather Donald Fletcher was the last fluent speaker of Mpakwithi. He learned his language by escaping from the mission dormitory to spend time with free Mpakwithi elders in the bush.