EK has worked with Bunuba people since 1996 and, in October 2019, the Bunuba Rangers, Bunuba Dawangarri Aboriginal Corporation and Environs Kimberley launched the book Yarrangu Thangani Lundu: Bunuba trees and bush foods, a 100 page book documenting Bunuba plant names and associated cultural knowledge. The book has detailed profiles of over 50 plants, brief descriptions of a further 20, background information on the types of Bunuba muwayi (country) and animals, and a guide to spelling and pronouncing the Bunuba language.
Patsy Bedford and Diane Chungal enjoying the new book. Photo: Damian Kelly
The launch was well attended by Bunuba people and the co-authors Diane Chungal, Patsy Bedford and Mary Aiken all spoke passionately in both English and Bunuba language about the importance of the book for Bunuba people, as a link between the old people and future generations, to keep the language and culture alive. Jess Miller from Environs Kimberley spoke about the process of gathering the information and producing the book. In true Bunuba fashion, after thanking Environs Kimberley for our work on the project, they aren’t letting us rest; they want a Bunuba bird book next.
Bunuba trees and bush foods book co-authors (left to right) Mary Aiken, Susan Hoad, Patsy Bedford, Mona Oscar and Diane Chungal at the book launch. Photo Damian Kelly
The book is the culmination of many years of hard work and requires acknowledging some people for their key contributions. Firstly, and most importantly, the Bunuba elders and linguists for keeping their knowledge and language alive over the years, in particular the five Bunuba co-authors. Secondly, former EK ecologists Stephen Reynolds and Jessica Miller for doing the field work and co-authoring the book. Lastly, to Louise Beames for initiating, securing funding, overseeing and shouldering the large editing responsibility to finalise the project.
This book was made possible with the financial and in-kind support of Bunuba Dawangarri Aboriginal Corporation, Bunuba Rangers, Environs Kimberley, Bush Heritage
Australia, Society for Kimberley Indigenous Plants and Animals, the Hoffman Foundation, the Western Australian Government State Natural Resource Management Program, Kimberley Language Resource Centre and the Kimberley Development Commission.
We are all very proud of this fantastic collaborative product; at Environs Kimberley we understand that in the Kimberley healthy country depends on healthy Aboriginal culture.