Telling their own story PDF Print E-mail

There are a number of publications by Wangka Maya Pilbara Aboriginal Language Centre that are notable, but the one which has received most recognition on a wider level is that of Ngarla Songs by Alexander Brown and Brian Geytenbeek. It was one of the three short-listed nominations for the 2004 WA Premier’s Award in Literature for Poetry. It is a significant book in terms the beauty of its traditional style of poetry and its Indigenous historical perspective of the early twentieth century. The two people who worked on it did so in their own time and of their own motivation. Wangka Maya assisted only with editing, layout and finding a publisher who would distribute the book nationally (Fremantle Arts Centre Press). The two authors saw all drafts throughout the publication process. They made all of the decisions at every step, including which pictures would be used, who the artist would be, what would go on the cover, right through to the historical accuracy of the details in the drawings. Every aspect was under their control. They are very happy with the product.

A CD of the songs did not accompany this book and this reflects the authors’ wishes – if people don’t want something to happen, it shouldn’t happen. As it turns out, the songs are now being recorded as a follow-up. The authors have trust in the process and the time is now right for this to happen.