The name, Uluru, originated from the Anangu people who live near it. Although the meaning is not clear, it was referred to as such by the elders. Its very existence is central to the beliefs of the indigenous Australians in the area. When looking at its features, it is no surprise that this monolith is given such tremendous status by both indigenous and non-indigenous communities alike.
In 1874, the monolith was given the name Ayer’s Rock after Sir Henry Ayers, the Premier of South Australia. More than one hundred years later, an agreement was reached to allow both names to be used officially as part of a dual naming deal, which meant that the names given by both the indigenous community and the colonizing English.
However, in a Referendum Council in 2017, Alison Hunt, a representative of the Anangu community and translator, did not want the use of the word Uluru to be used in the Uluru Statement from the Heart because the name’s usage was not properly consented by the elders.
It is also considered important to UNESCO who named it as one of the World Heritage Sites.
As for how special Uluru is to the Northern Territory, there is a plethora of rock art that are used by the Anangu for teaching tourists about the past. Since human habitation near the Uluru region dates back 30,000 years, the petroglyphs provide a key insight into how they may have lived and what mythologies. They were illustrated in the form of songs known as inma.
Also illustrated are their laws, otherwise called tjukurpa. They dictated how the indigenous community would burn patterns in the country in order to take care of the country in an ecological way. The tjukurpa also taught them how to take care of the waterholes.
The plants and the animals are also given special status since they are endemic to Uluru are also crucial for indigenous self-sufficiency. The trees are used for firewood, hunting weapons, and the seeds would be mixed with water to make paste; while the clay would be used for paint or for bowls. What they would forage and hunt for their food are the fruits, vegetables, witchetty grubs, birds’ eggs, and other species of animal.