The fourth of a series of articles on Indigenous languages that is published on the internet and in the FATSIL Newsletter Voice of the Land.
Ngiyampaa language features in historic Parliament House ceremony
It was neither your average wedding, nor an ordinary venue when Rose King and Arthur Kirby decided to marry in July last year.
The Narrabundah couple drove past any number of quaintly steepled churches and immaculate reception lawns, making their way to the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in front of Old Parliament House in Canberra. It was there that friends and family had gathered to witness the marriage ceremony and take part in the first wedding ever to be held on the site.
Over the 27 years that Arthur and Rose have been together, the Tent Embassy has come to be of great significance as they've marched, protested and gathered peacefully with people who've shared their beliefs. Now they wished to show their respect for the site and pride in their heritage as Ngiyampaa people.
The couple incorporated into the ceremony a speech in the Ngiyampaa language , the language of the central west region of New South Wales, within the boundaries of the Lachlan, Darling and Bogan Rivers in the Central West of New South Wales.
When planning the wedding, Rose contacted a friend, Tamsin Donaldson, who had learned to speak Ngiyampaa with the Elders from Carowra, between Cobar and Ivanhoe, and invited her to speak to the gathering.
Excerpt from the speech by Tamsin Donaldson at the Kirby's wedding
Ngupaankalaaytyaangku thii parrawiyi, Ngiyampaangka ngiyaliku.
The married couple have asked me to speak in Ngiyampaa.
Marrathal ngathu kuniingkalaa nuu thiirrpaykuwanhi, Rose.
Long ago I got to know your poor mother, Rose.
Marrathal ngathu nginuu kumiingkalaa thiirrpaykuwanhi, Arthur.
Long ago I got to know your poor mother, Arthur.
Marrathal ngathu nginuupulaa thiirrpanhi.
Long ago I got to know you two (I have known you two for a long time).
Marrathal ngathii Ngiyampaa mayingku winangaypuwan punmalngilanhi, Ngiyampaathan thu ngiyali.
A long time ago Ngiyampaa people set about making me able to understand, so that I could speak Ngiyampaa.
Yingkalaathi tyu ngini thunika pukilu ngiyara:
That's why I am so proud and happy to speak today and to say:
Make each other live well! (literally, Ngiyampaa way: make each other sit down well!)
Yangkanti mayi thaay yananhi, Ngiyampaa mayi, Wirraathurray mayi, ngini pangkala wiinyapa mayi, kuuy.
People have come here from all over, Ngiyampaa people, Wiradjuri people, people who live in this country.
Kurunhthilanhi ngiyanu, pungkuputhan Rosekampulaa Arthurkampulaa yamakarrapakirrri:
We have gathered together, so that all of us can greet Rose and Arthur:
We are grateful for the generous assistance given by Rose King and Arthur Kirby, Tamsin Donaldson, and Gary Schafer of the Canberra Times.