We were very proud to launch our new book Gun-ngaypa Rrawa ‘My Country’ at Maningrida on 25 March. The book was presented to elder Robert Bibora in a ceremonial performance by men and women from the An-nguliny and related clan groups. Robert Bibora is the senior member of the Gopamolija clan group, and is the younger brother of England Banggala and Rosie Jin-mujinggul. Both Banggala and Jin-mujinggul feature in the book.
Allen Milyerr England led the singing during the presentation. He sang walkwalk, the song of the ghost spirits that live in the jungles along the river around Gochan Jiny-jirra, Wangarr A-juwana and Boporlinymarr. Milyerr sang this funeral song as the dancers escorted the book to Bibora. Once it was presented Milyerr and the dancers performed a number of celebratory songs – including jarlacharla ‘waterlily fruit’ and galkuruk ‘rufous night heron’.
The Gun-ngaypa Rrawa book is a memorial to the old Gun-nartpa people from Gochan Jiny-jirra. It includes their words, stories and images. It is an emotional encounter to look at photos of deceased family members, and to listen to their voices. Gun-ngaypa Rrawa contains memories for the family and also is a resource about language, culture and history for the younger generation. We are very grateful to all the Gun-nartpa people and their extended family in the Maningrida region for their permission to produce the book in the way we have, packed with pictures of people. The project team worked very hard to transcribe and translate the stories and they are justifiably very proud of the result. It would not be what it is without the efforts of Crusoe Batara, Patrick Muchana, Raymond Walanggay, Marion Waiguma, Katy Balkurra Fry and Rose Ngardiny. There are many others who have supported the book throughout the long journey of its creation. Nyuwurr-molamola, japarra ngapa nyuburr-jirra. Jama wana arrburrwa!
We thank all the performers who presented the book: Allen Milyerr, Mick Marrawa England , Michael Mungula, Gary Madji Smith, Blake Djimarr Carter, Roger Burrichulumchulum, Samuel Milika Rankin, Sheldon Rankin, Sammy Mibarala Davis, Jeremy Namarridji Davis, Winnie Wungkara, Dorothy Galaledba, Cindy Jin-gurabura, Mildred Marrngamarrnga, Janet and Doreen. We are also grateful to Joseph Díddo for the Kunibidji welcome to country, Stanley Djalarra Rankin as Master of Ceremonies, Rose Ngardiny Darcy for her wonderful speech and everyone at Maningrida College for organising and hosting the event. Thanks also to Mason Scholes and Jill Vaughan for filming the launch, and Jaya Regan for photographs. We say thanks to many other people too – you can read their names in our book!
The book was published by Batchelor Press, and supported through funding from the Australian Government’s Indigenous Languages Support program and the Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Documentation program. Please contact Batchelor Press if you would like to purchase a copy of the book. You can find information about the sound pen on our soundprinting website. This includes details on how to buy a pen, preloaded with audio files that will allow you to listen along with the stories from the pages of the book.
The story audio is also available online, but a password is required for access. Please contact the project team if you would like access to the online audio (available to people who purchase the book).
Gun-ngaypa Rrawa is the third in our series of soundprinted books – see also Antarrengeny Awely: Alyawarr women’s songs from Antarrengeny, and Jardiwanpa Yawulyu: Warlpiri women’s songs from Yuendumu.