Barunga’s children create their own stories with the Deadly Dogs Storytelling Project
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Barunga’s children create their own stories with the Deadly Dogs Storytelling Project

by Freya Lucas

August 02, 2022

Children in the small Aboriginal community of Barunga, approximately 80 km south east of Katherine in the Northern Territory have celebrated their furry friends with the launch of their new book Our Barunga Dogs

 

The book was developed through the Deadly Dogs Storytelling Project, as a collaboration between Roper Gulf Regional Council’s Sport and Recreation, and Animal Management programs. It is filled with drawings and stories created by the Barunga kids about their beloved dogs.

Kaylene Doust, Animal Program Manager and Vet Nurse at Roper Gulf Regional Council,  coordinated the project, which she called “a celebration of the love, companionship and importance of dog ownership encountered during our work in remote Indigenous communities”. 

 

“This collection comes directly from community kids and recognises the role these dogs play in community and family life.”

 

A storytelling workshop was delivered in Barunga as part of their Easter school holiday program. The workshop was facilitated by Johanna Bell from Story Projects, who designed and published the book.

 

As part of the workshop, participants were encouraged to talk about their dog, what makes them special, and why they love them. This message ties in to Council’s larger Animal Management program, which teaches that a happy and healthy dog is less likely to be ‘cheeky’ and cause issues in the community.

 

Children went around the community and took photos of their dogs, which they then used to draw the pictures which illustrate the book.

 

There is also an audio element to the book, where if readers scan a QR code they can listen to the Barunga children talk about their dog in Kriol, the local language.

 

On Friday 1 July, Council invited the children who have stories and drawings in the book to an official book launch at the Barunga Library, where the children were presented with their copy of the book.

 

“It was very special to see the kids looking through the book at the launch, seeing their own names and drawings published,” Ms Doust said. 

 

Our Barunga Dogs has also made it into the NT Library. It can be found in both hard copy and as a digital book as part of the Territory Stories archive. This means that the book will be held as part of a uniquely Territorian collection which will be accessible to anyone around the world.

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