Wirrangul Women: Always Have, Always Will: Hunting Wombat
Wanda Miller talks about working with Gladys Miller to design language programs that will allow Wirangu to be taught in schools. Wanda’s grandchildren are Wirrangul through her husband. Wombat is the traditional food of the Wirangu people, and the children’s stories are all about hunting wombat. We see the Miller family out bush, digging a wombat out of its burrow and then being prepared for cooking upon the open fire.
Summary by Romaine Moreton
A good example of a community who are investing in keeping their language alive. Getting the Wirangu language into the schools and taught to the younger generations through storytelling is one way of keeping the language alive. Indigenous peoples from across the country each have their own traditions and traditional food. For those who are unfamiliar with wombat as a traditional food, this is a good introduction.
Wirrangul Women: Always Have, Always Will Synopsis
A documentary about elders Doreen and Gladys Miller, the last remaining speakers of the Wirangu language in an area where the dominant remaining Indigenous languages are Kokatha and Pitjantjatjara.
A beautiful exposé of two sisters, the last remaining speakers of the Wirangu language. The definition of language death is when there is only one speaker of the language left, and Doreen and Gladys Miller are two elders who, at the time of the making of this documentary were in their 70s and 80s, and are the only two speakers left of Wirangu. To keep the Wirangu language alive they must find a way to pass language and tradition on to the younger generations. The dominant languages spoken in the area is Kokatha and Pitjantjatjara.
The elders reflect on their childhood and the freedom of living off the bush and in the country. Wombat is the bush tucker for the Wirangu people, and this documentary is very much about continuing tradition and revitalising the Wirangu language, through preserving their cultural traditions. The collaboration between the community and the elders to write books and other resources to teach the language to the younger generation results in stories about being in the bush, and hunting wombat. A very inspirational piece.
Notes by Romaine Moreton