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Australia Day, ah. Sizzling like a sausage, I read Junga Yimi (true stories), the Warlpiri magazine started in 1978, and restarted in 1994. This issue is a wonderful words-and-pictures round-up of what's been happening at Yuendumu - in Warlpiri and English, translations by Ormay Gallagher, and lay-out and editing by Donovan Jampijinpa Rice.

There's news of the very young (Kurdu Kurdu Kurlangu childcare centre), of old (Mampu Maninja-kurlangu Jarlu Patu-ku old people's program), of people generally - the winners of the Alice Pest Control Tidy House competition (Serena Shannon, newsletter editor Donovan Rice and their family), and the Little Sisters of Jesus. Of work - more Warlpiri are working at the Tanami Gold Mine, news of the Warlukurlangu Artists and of the Yuendumu Mining Company (including the current prices for native plant seeds - $680 for a full drum of Wardarrka (Acacia ligulata)). Lots of news of school-age children and young adults, from what Jaru Pirrjirdi (Strong voices/words/language..) and Mount Theo are up to - ranging from swimming carnivals, homework centre, life guard training, night club and youth programs - to what's happening at the school - classes, culture nights and country visits.

There's news from the Warlpiri branch of PAW Media - the Yapa Beats compilation CD, a radio program Yapa patu wangkami, (oral history docco in Warlpiri and English about life at Yuendumu before settlement, during the settling and during the NT Emergency Response aka the Intervention). And finally ...football! Flying South when the Yuendumu Magpies AFL team travelled to Melbourne to play at the MCG against the Anangu All Stars from the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands and Maralinga Tjarutja Lands. [I can't resist mention here of a favourite recent successful ARC grant -- Mark Dras, Myfany Turpin et al.s' project Natural Language Generation for Aboriginal Languages - they hope to "generate a simplified version of reports on AFL matches" - in Indigenous languages....]

Junga yimi gives a lively picture of life at Yuendumu (check out also Yasmine Musharbash's equally lively ethnography Yuendumu everyday). Good things are happening, people are doing good things.

But, very sadly, this issue starts with an obituary (by Lizzie Ross Napurrurla) for J. Nungarrayi Egan, a passionate advocate and worker for Warlpiri people and Warlpiri language. Nungarrayi was there at the start of the bilingual education program, and worked there most of her life before retiring to help set up Jaru Pirrjirdi for young adults. She fought for the continuation of bilingual education, up until the end when she wrote a letter [quoted here] to Marion Scrymgour, protesting the "First four hours of English" decision. She could foresee what the decision would mean for Warlpiri children, Warlpiri communities and Warlpiri language. It dooms much of her life's work.

Junga Yimi is produced by Yuendumu School's Bilingual Resources Development Unit. It's funded in part by the school, by volunteer work, and in part by WETT, the Warlpiri Education and Training Trust . WETT is funded by Warlpiri themselves through an agreement with Newmont Mining brokered by the Central Land Council. Just the kind of community/school/private partnership that the National Indigenous Education Action Plan is looking for, right? BUT, the latest BRDU book catalogue is only 2008 - is this year an indication what the "First four hours of English" holds for the future? Of Australia's commitment to maintaining Indigenous languages?

You can get a year's subscription to Junga Yimi for $16.50 (2 copies) incl. GST, post and handling. Check or money order to:
Bilingual Resources Development Unit,
c/- Yuendumu School
L.P.O. Yuendumu,, via Alice Springs, NT 0872
Phone: 61+8-8956-4045


Great post Jane, I must subscribe!

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The Transient Building, symbolising the impermanence of language, houses both the Linguistics Department at Sydney University and PARADISEC, a digital archive for endangered Pacific languages and music.

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