Books created to boost Wamba Wamba language
The Sector > Provider > General News > Yarkuwa Indigenous Knowledge Centre publishes books to boost language program

Yarkuwa Indigenous Knowledge Centre publishes books to boost language program

by Freya Lucas

August 01, 2023

Yarkuwa Indigenous Knowledge Centre has published a series of educational bilingual books that will be distributed to local early childhood education and care (ECEC) services and schools as part of its language program. 


A number of community members gathered together recently to celebrate the launch of the five book series written in the local Aboriginal language.


The Pembengguk Wamba Wamba Read Aloud Books have been designed to help young children learn Wamba Wamba by “being read aloud” together in the classroom or at home with family.


Yarkuwa’s Chair Jeanette Crew OAM said that providing the local schools and community with this resource is important because it’s something that she never had access to when she was a child.


A Wamba Wamba Elder, Mrs Crew recalled growing up at the Moonahcullah Aboriginal Station, approximately 40km north west of Deniliquin, where Wamba Wamba was not taught in the classroom, nor at the schools in town.


“We didn’t have any sort of reading resources,” she shared with local news source Shepparton News.


“There was nothing for us, there was nothing like Pembengguk books.”


Mrs Crew said the new book series is important because it “continues” First Nations peoples’ connection with their culture.


“Our connection with our culture has never been broken,” she said.


“It’s not necessarily visible to other people because mostly it is invisible; it’s the way we live, the way we relate and unless you’re in there, you don’t see that.”


Her father Neil ‘Rusty’ Ross was fluent in Wamba Wamba, as were his peers, and this is something Yarkuwa hopes to continue through initiatives such as the books. 


The word Pembengguk means children, and also family, (Kethawil Pembengguk.)


The five books in the series are called: Nyapa Lipkwil? (How Many Echidnas?); Kethawil Pembengguk (Family); Nyanya Yawirr? (What Animal Is That?); Penggek (My Body) and Nyakanda Tirrilkata (I Spy In The Sky).


Each book has a pronunciation guide to help sound out each word as you go and is designed to be interactive.


The creation of the series involved the community, with two of the books being designed by Angus Rae and Catie Michael from Deniliquin High School as part of Yarkuwa’s year seven culture and language program, and with the books being printed locally by  3G Printing in Deniliquin.


Funding from the Aboriginal Lands Trust NSW and Wiradjuri Condobolin Corporation (WCC) Language Program also supported the work. 


To access the original coverage of this story, please see here

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