Wirrangul Women: Always Have, Always Will: Wirangu language
A car drives by on the highway. In voice-over, Doreen and Gladys Miller reflect on how the now busy road was a quiet dirt track during their childhood. They tell us about their farming business in Scotdesco, 100km from Ceduna. Daughter-in-law Wanda Miller tells us that the families that own Ceduna and Port Lincoln respect the two elders for their cultural knowledge and language. The women speak the Wirangu language as well as the Kokatha language.
Summary Romaine Moreton
A gentle introduction to the lives and legacy of two elders, the last remaining speakers of the Wirangu language. Doreen and Gladys Miller are greatly respected by the traditional owners of Ceduna and Port Lincoln, and there is an urgency to document their knowledge and wisdom. This documentation is something that is occurring throughout Indigenous communities around the country.
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