Christine Nicholls reviews 'Mamang' by Kim Scott, Iris Woods, and the Wirlomin Noongar Language and Stories Project and 'Noongar Mambara Bakitj' by Kim Scott, Lomas Roberts and the Wirlomin Noongar Language and Stories Project

Mamang  

by Kim Scott, Iris Woods, and the Wirlomin Noongar Language and Stories Project

UWA Publishing, $24.95 pb, 36 pp, 9781742582962

Noongar Mambara Bakitj

by Kim Scott, Lomas Roberts and the Wirlomin Noongar Language and Stories Project

UWA Publishing, $24.95 pb, 44 pp, 9781742582955

Mamang and Noongar Mambara Bakitj are retellings of traditional Noongar narratives by the Miles Franklin Award-winning author Kim Scott, in collaboration with a team of others. The books are part of a broader Wirlomin Noongar Language and Stories reclamation and revitalisation project currently under way in the south-western coastal region of Western Australia, an area roughly traversing Albany to Esperance. Like many other Australian languages today, Noongar is barely hanging on. These modest diglot books, charmingly illustrated by Noongar people in simple, unaffected, and direct style, therefore represent a timely intervention into the continuing post-colonial destruction of this critically (and globally) endangered language.

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Christine Nicholls

Christine Nicholls

Christine Nicholls is a writer, curator, and Senior Lecturer in Australian Studies at Flinders University. She is well published in the fields of Indigenous Australian languages and Indigenous Australian artistic practice. (Photograph by Digby Duncan.)

Published in February 2012 no. 338

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