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Bilingual book welcomed by community

Date: 11 May 2017

It was a great night in Melbourne for all those who attended the launch of Something About Emus, a book edited by Murray Garde and focused on Bininj encounters and stories of emu in western Arnhem Land.

A special aspect of this book is its bilingual nature. Stories are translated either from Bininj Kunwok to English or English to Bininj Kunwok depending on the source.

It is divided into three parts: part I is a collection of conversations by senior Bininj about emus; part II is an essay by Nick Evans, which presents three versions of what is known in western and southern Arnhem Land as 'the greedy emu story'; and part III is a photographic essay, by Jon Altman, showing the emu preparation and cooking process. 

Murray Garde, editor of 'Something About emus' On the night of the launch, Murray Garde touched on how the book came together, “the instigator of the research was Bininj ecologist Dean Yibarbuk from Maningrida. Dean began the work with an AIATSIS research grant auspiced by the Centre for Indigenous Natural and cultural Resource Management (CINCRM) and when he found his commitments building and needed to turn his attention to other projects, I became involved and not long after zoologist Dr Wendy Telfer. That was in 2005 and in 2013 our friends at Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation in Kakadu National Park suggested we publish the results of our collaborative work with the many esteemed Aboriginal elders who had generously shared their knowledge about emus.”

Penelope Yibarbuk, Dean Yibarbuk and Murray Garde at the launch

During the launch, there was praise for the way the book presented Indigenous ecological knowledge from original sources (in this case Indigenous elders who led the land management movement in western Arnhem Land) in an easily digestible format. Speakers at the launch expressed the desire to see the publication of similar books in future.

Top image: Penelope Yibarbuk, Dean Yibarbuk, Nick Evans, Otto Campion - senior Gurruwiling Ranger, Murray Garde, Jon Altman and Wendy Telfer.

  • Australian Government
  • The University of Queensland
  • Australian National University
  • The University of Melbourne
  • Western Sydney University

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