Country, Culture, People, Future

Wangka Maya

Singing The Train

Posted: November 29th, 2016

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For the next few months AIATSIS will exhibit Singing The Train. The exhibition tells through an Aboriginal song sung in Njamal language, of the first railway that ran between Port Hedland and Marble Bar in the Pilbara between1910 to 1951. The song was created by Aboriginal composer and stockman Larry Brown and passed to his daughter Topsy Fazeldean Brown who performed it in 1964 at Port Hedland.

Larry Brown composed Singing the Train using traditional Aboriginal song styles which expressed his feelings of this new addition of a train line to his Country. Singing The Train is a collaboration between Wangka Maya Pilbara Aboriginal Language Centre, Revolutions Transport Museum and AIATSIS. For more information on Singing The Train, you can visit the website here.

 

 

Wangka Maya celebrates book launch

Posted: November 17th, 2016

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An event to celebrate the launch of Partulyayimarta: Ngarla Birds will take place on Monday 28 November at Wangka Maya’s South Hedland office from 10.30am to 1.00pm.

Partulyayimarta: Ngarla Birds documents an Aboriginal way of identifying, naming, and classifying birds. It also provides additional cultural and linguistic information alongside scientific and common English names for 117 different birds found throughout traditional Ngarla Country.

For more information about the event, you can contact Wangka Maya at 9172 2344 or Larissa Brown at 0488 773 143. RSVP’s are welcomed until Thursday 24 November. The book is $40, and it is available for purchase at the event and on the Wangka Maya website here.

Certificate III in Aboriginal Languages now offered

Posted: April 29th, 2016

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A Certificate III in Aboriginal Languages is now being offered by South Hedland-based language centre Wangka Maya. The course is designed to help maintain the languages spoken by Traditional Owners across Australia.

The nationally accredited certificate is a week-long intensive course, and the first students represented seven different language groups from the Pilbara including Kariyarra, Yinhawangka, Banjima and Nyiyaparli.

The units aim to teach students about the history, vitality and distribution of Aboriginal languages. Courses include identifying language needs in the community and workplace, raising awareness about Aboriginal languages and producing sounds in Aboriginal languages.

For more information about the program, you can visit the Wangka Maya website here, and for specifics about the course you can visit the Resource Network for Linguistic Diversity.

Sounds of the Pilbara II : Songs in Language

Posted: October 6th, 2015

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At the Warajanga Cultural Evening in South Hedland last week, the Sounds of The Pilbara II: Songs in Language was previewed. This is the latest compilation produced by West Australian Music (WAM) as part of their Sounds of series.

The Sounds of the Pilbara II showcases five Indigenous languages from WA’s Pilbara region which include Nyiyaparli, Nyangumarta, Nyamal, Ngarluma and Kurrama.

The songs in the compilation CD are performed by Indigenous people from the Pilbara and it features a range of original songs and sung stories which include inspiring tales and fables passed on through generations. There are 26 tracks in the CD which were recorded in a temporary studio in South Hedland by 14 contributing vocalists.

WAM worked closely with Pilbara Indigenous language linguists from Wangka Maya Pilbara Aboriginal Centre to produce this CD. The aim of this production is to preserve the traditional Indigenous languages found throughout the Pilbara. The CD will also be used as a tool to raise the public’s recognition and appreciation of the Indigenous languages. WAM also partnered with the traditional owners from the Karlka Nyiyaparli Aboriginal Corporation to produce the compilation.

You can listen to the Sounds of The Pilbara: Songs in Language here. Copies are also available from Wangka Maya in South Hedland or limited copies from WAM.

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Aboriginal language initiatives

Posted: May 15th, 2015

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There are positive initiatives across Western Australia committed to preserving traditional languages.

Nyangumarta speakers in Hedland recently underwent training to become qualified interpreters for hospitals and courts. The training facilitated by the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters is hoped to increase access to services for Aboriginal people.

Weerianna Street Media in collaboration with linguist Janelle Mowarin and the Wangka Maya Pilbara Aboriginal Language Centre have created language videos for schools and other resources to complement a Ngarluma online dictionary. The Wangka Maya dictionary and Ngarluma Language Resource are available online here.

Geraldton’s Bundiyarra-Irra Wangga Language Centre recently launched a Nhanda alphabet poster along with other educational posters which promote the Nhanda language. Anyone interested in contributing to the Nhanda dictionary project may call Ms Sitorus at the Bundiyarra-Irra Wangga Language Centre on 9920 7900.

Join Wangka Maya to learn Aboriginal languages

Posted: March 20th, 2015

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Every Wednesday from 6 to 7 pm the Wangka Maya Pilbara Aboriginal Language Centre is offering the opportunity to practice your Aboriginal language skills in the Wangka Maya conference room at 67 Throssell Road in South Hedland.

For more information contact manager@wangkamaya.org.au or call Julie or Jason on 9172 2344.

YMAC Congratulates Janet Stewart for NAIDOC Award!

Posted: July 20th, 2012

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YMAC would like to extend a big congratulations to Janet Stewart, who was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2012 Hedland NAIDOC Awards two weekends ago for her work mentoring Aboriginal chidlren.

Mrs Stewart is Nyangumarta woman and local teacher at South Hedland Primary School, where she teaches traditional language.

She has also helped to establish Nyangumarta dictionaries through the Wangka Maya Aboriginal Language Centre, and is strongly involved in several Indigenous women’s organisations such as the Mothers of Australia Shed, Pilbara Indigenous Women’s Aboriginal Corporation and Mothers Against Drugs.

We also congratulate all other nominees, finalists and award winners.

For more information about NAIDOC week 2012, visit the NAIDOC website.

Marnti Warajanga exhibition touring the Pilbara

Posted: April 12th, 2012

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Nyangumarta boys taking their first steps on country as recognised native title holders, 11 June 2009. Photograph by Tobias Titz

Marnti Warajanga- a Walk Together is an exhibition of photographs and stories that will be touring Pilbara communities this May and June. Showcasing the photographs of Tobias Titz, including many images of the Nyangumarta people’s native title determination in 2009, the exhibition has been on display at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House in Canberra.

As the project tours the Pilbara it will also include photography workshops and community celebrations along with a redeveloped version of the exhibition.  The Marnti Warajanga Pilbara tour dates for exhibitions and workshops are:

  • 3-4 May, Hedland Senior High School
  • 7-8 May, South Hedland Primary School
  • 9-10 May, Wangka Maya Pilbara Aboriginal Language Centre (community BBQ on 9 May)
  • 14-16 May, Strelley Remote Community School (community BBQ on 19 May)
  • 21-24 May, Yandeyarra Remote Community School (community BBQ on 23 May)
  • 28-29 May, Newman Senior High School
  • 30 May, South Newman Primary School
  • 31 May, Newman Primary School (community BBQ on 31 May)
  • 5-7 June, Jigalong Remote Community School (community BBQ on 7 June)

Everyone is welcome to participate in the different events by trying some yandying, taking the children’s trail or having their portrait taken at the photographic workshop.

The exhibition will also be on display in Perth before heading north, from 13-30 April in Central Park.

For more information and to view some of the photographs visit the Marnti Warajanga page at the Museum of Australian Democracy’s website.

NAIDOC profile: Wangka Maya Pilbara Aboriginal Language Centre

Posted: July 4th, 2011

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Wangka Maya Pilbara Aboriginal Language Centre is a language centre in South Hedland dedicated to preserving and teaching Indigenous languages of the Pilbara region. It began in 1987 when a group of Aboriginal people started recording languages that they feared were in danger of being forgotten. From its modest beginnings it has grown into a vibrant organisation with a wide range of projects and an impressive workload.

Wangka Maya’s work is driven by the urgency to record languages with few speakers before they are lost forever. “Wangka Maya’s work is very important … recording and documenting 31 languages, some with only a handful of speakers left. We have to have it on record, or else the language will be totally lost. If there are no more speakers left, how will the younger generations know how it sounds?” said Harry Taylor, current treasurer of Wangka Maya.

This sense of urgency has led Wangka Maya to prioritise languages with the fewest remaining speakers, producing wordlists and dictionaries, followed by sketch grammars which describe the use and structure of the language, and over the years, more books and resources for children.

Beyond language, Wangka Maya also records information and produces resources in the areas of history and culture, provides cultural awareness training and participates in a range of community partnerships and initiatives to promote understanding of and interest in Aboriginal language, culture and history. Wangka Maya also reconnects Pilbara and Gascoyne Aboriginal people to their families who have lost contact due to government action or other issues through the Link Up program.

Anne Sibosado, long time board member of Wangka Maya, feels a personal connection with the work of the language centre. “Growing up I wasn’t allowed to speak language in school, but it’s important to your identity. Being involved [with Wangka Maya] has helped me get my identity back… I hope the younger people will come to use [Wangka Maya’s resources], because they are our future. We want more young people to come aboard,” said Anne.

Harry Taylor believes that, “the wider Australian community is recognising language diversity more and accepting it more,” and Australia is a richer place for that.

Wangka Maya is offering a free cultural awareness training course on 7 July for NAIDOC week. For more information please visit www.wangkamaya.org.au or call 9172 2344.

Across Australia every July, NAIDOC Week celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. In honour of NAIDOC 2011 YMAC is featuring a series of Aboriginal people and organisations that contribute to the vibrant Aboriginal culture of the Midwest and Pilbara. For more information on NAIDOC including its history and events happening near you, visit http://www.naidoc.org.au/ .