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Something About Emus

Bininj Kunwok Stories from Western Arnhem Land

Murray Garde

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The emu is an iconic Australian bird of significance to all Australians, but especially so to Indigenous Australians who have had a special relationship with this curious animal for thousands of ye...

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The emu is an iconic Australian bird of significance to all Australians, but especially so to Indigenous Australians who have had a special relationship with this curious animal for thousands of years.

In this bilingual, highly illustrated, full-colour publication Something about emus reveals valuable ecological knowledge in a collection of essays by senior members of the Bininj Gunwok language group from Kakadu National Park and Western Arnhem Land.

Something about emus goes beyond biology and ecology to encompass other culturally important domains such as the visual and verbal arts, music, ritual and the relationships between humans and animals.

Whilst Indigenous ecological knowledge is increasingly acknowledged as a valuable part of Australia's cultural heritage, such knowledge is most richly expressed in Australia's Indigenous languages which have largely remained inaccessible to those outside their communities.

Production details
  • Paperback
  • 230mm x 185mm x 10mm
  • 176pp
  • Released April 2017
  • ISBN 9781922059154
Contents

List of contributors
Acknowledgments
Introduction
Reading and writing Bininj Kunwok words
PART I: Talking about emus
Chapter 1: Bininj Elder Jimmy Kalarriya talks about emus with Peter Biless Nabarlambarl and Don Nakadilinj Namunjdja at Manmoyi Outstation
Chapter 2: Jack Nawilil and Jimmy Kalarriya talk about emus at Bolkdjam Outstation
Chapter 3: Mick Kubarkku and family from Yikarrakkal talk about emus
Chapter 4: Jack Djandjomerr and Josie Maralngurra talk about emus at Kabulwarnamyo Outstation
Chapter 5: George Djandjomerr talks about emus at Manabudduma
Chapter 6: Lofty Bardayal Nadjamerrek and Mary Kolkkiwarra talk about emus at Kabulwarnamyo Outstation
PART II: Three greedy emu stories
Part III: Cooking an emu in an underground oven at Mumeka
Appendix 1: Collated by Wendy Telfer and Murray Garde: summary of information about emus
Appendix 2: Dalabon, anthropologists and the greedy emu story
Appendix 3: Bininj Kunwok and other language names and associated information for emus in Arnhem Land
Appendix 4: Skin names or subsections in Western Arnhem Land

About the author

Murray Garde is a Research Fellow in the School of Culture, History and Language at the Australian National University. He has lived and worked for many years in western Arnhem Land and Kakadu National Park working with speakers of the Bininj Kunwok language in a variety of areas including land management, traditional music, environmental knowledge and language maintenance programs.

About the cover

Front cover image: Malalam 'red soil open forest hill country' near Mokmek.

Back cover image: Detail from 'a hunter spears an emu', painted in 'Dynamic Style'; near Kubara, Kakadu National Park. (Photograph: Gabrielle O'Loughlin.)

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