Summer in Canberra finally came, and my partner and I set up some new shroud experiments on the property of Tony and Steve. Many thanks to their support and to local hunter Paul for the rabbits.
Booderee National Park is owned by the Wreck Bay Indigenous Community. This is the country where my mother and I were raised and my mother’s family established themselves. The Shoalhaven High School I attended taught children from my village Vincentia and Wreck Bay Village in addition to surrounding villages on Jervis Bay and St Georges Basin waterways. Indigenous storytellers in the area important to my education concerning the country in my soul are Wadi Wadi man Barry Moore and Bidgigal man Laddie Timbery.
Now there are a primary and High School in Vincentia and I am very happy to see a local indigenous language program developed at the High School.
In the preparation of ethics information and consent forms to formally ask permission from Kunwinjku speakers living in Gunbalanya or nearby outstations to teach me language and culture, I attempted translation into Kunwinjku.
My only reference in Canberra was the 1998 edition on Kunwinjku Kunwok produced by Steven and Narelle Etherington in consultation with members of the Gunbalanya community. The Kunwinjku Language Centre’s current Kunwinjku Language Project is managed by Donna Nadjamerrek, Ngalnarridj skin (kunkurlah) and a Ngalmok woman from well known outstation Kabulwarnamyo established by her father Wamud, respected painter (bim) of bark (dolobbo) and rock (kunwardde) using traditional ochres (delek). I met Donna formally in Gunbalanya at the Rock Art Field School and we spoke informally at the Barks Birds and Billabongs conference at the Australian Museum. I hope she will agree to teach me Kunwinjku kunwok, as I am determined to learn this wonderful ancient language of Australia.