BRUCE THOMAS is a traditional Mangala man. He grew up with Nyangumarta people. Nyangumarta is one of nearly 30 languages in the Pilbara region in Western Australia. The traditional country of the Nyangumarta people lies along the Eighty Mile Beach area north of Port Hedland, and inland about 350 Kilometres to Telfer.
Bruce was born after the famous 1946 Pilbara Strike which sought equal rights for Aboriginal people.The Nomads are an independent Aboriginal organisation set up at the time of the strike to run their own businesses.The main centre for the Nomads remains at Strelley, a small community just 100 kilometres north east of Port Hedland.
This is Bruce's speech when he received his award from the TAFE College as written by himself. Lesley Woods wrote the translation in English (the last three paragraphs of the English version were added by Bruce through Lesley later).
Ngaju punjarrinyirni Piparnnyanga wujupilja nyungungu yurranganga 8/7/52. Palanga kuwarri waninyi kurlrrangu pala wanikinyi wujupil marrngurrangumili.
Palaja kanyanyipulu pipi japartulu Muliyalakarti. Palanga Muliyalanga punjangarra. Palanga Pilykunkuranga tinkarra waninyiyirni. Palaja kanyayinganinyi Yantiyarrakarti. Palanga Yantiyarranga waninyiyirni punja yurrangarrangu. Palaja pipilu pa japartulu kanyanyipulu Muliyalakarti. Palanga Muliyalanga waninyiyirni punja Palaja kanyanyipulu Nyukarrakarti. Palanga Nyukarranga waninyikinyiyirni. Palaja yaniyirni Pirrimayakarti. Palanga Pirrimayanga waninyitirni wikirrangu. Palaja yanayirni Nyukarrakarti. Palanga Nyukarranga waninyiyirni wikirrangu. Palaja yanayirni Makanukarti. Makanungu punja waninyiyirni. Palanga warrkamu jarrinyipulu pipi japartu kalkunikinyinyipulu. Palanga Makanungu punja. Palaja yaninyi kinyiyimi Muliyalakarti jamana, yanikinyiyirni ngurranga jarrikinyiyirni partijirri. Palaja kananakanu marntungu yanayirni Muliyalakarti. Palanga wanikinyiyirni wikirrangu. Pajala kulpanyikinyiyirni Makanukarti yanayirni jamana kartakarrinyiyirni partijarri. Palaja kananakanu marntungu yanayirni Makanukarti.
Palajun yanikinyiyirni yartikarra mananganinyi turakalu Yirramakartukarti. Palanga yanayirni turakanga Yirramakartukarti.
Palanga Yirramakartungu kajarnirni warrukati. Palanga warrkamu jarrakinyi pirrapirrakarra paparrarlkarra ngurra Yirramakartungu yalinyja. Palaja yanayirni Yirramakartukarti kurila pala ngurrajayirni. Palaja yanayirni 5 Mayirlkarti. Palanga 5 Mayirlja waninyiyirni punja. Waninyikinyiyirni 5 Mayirlja yinimarnakinyirni jawalu manyamanyalu yinimarnakinyirni paliny turrkurrampi. Pala yinimarnakinyinyirni ngajulu turrkuwanti. Palaja ngaju yinimarnanyiyi turrkuwanti. Palanga ngaju waninyirni kurlja yurranganga kujarranga. Palanga yakarnanganinyi. Palaja jakun ngaju kurlja. Palanga ngaju waninyiyirni kurlmajirri punja.
Bruce and Anthropologist Kim Akerman working on restitution of Ceremonial objects and skeletal remains
Palaja Yirramakartuja yanayirni Warrkalkurakarti. Palanga Warrkalkuranga warrkamu jarrinyiyirni. Palaja yanayirni Jurriyakarti. Palanga Jurriyanga warrkamu jarrinyiyirni punja. Palaja yanayirni Kurntinyakarti. Palanga Kurntinyanga warrkamu jarrinyinyirni tinkarra. Palaja numanju payamujirni Turali tijin. Palaja Kurntinyaja yanayirni Turalikarti. Palanga Turalingi kuwarrikuwarri marta kurlja jarrinyiyirni Turalingi.
I was born in Marble Bar on the 8th July 1952 in what was then the hospital for Aboriginal people. Today, that place is the high school, back then it was a hospital first, then a hostel and today it's the high school.
My father and mother took me to Muliyala (used to be 10 Mile).We stayed for a long time there in Muliyala. After then we went to Pilykunkura, yandying for tin. After that we went to Yandeyarra and we stayed for a few years. After that my father and mother took me to Muliyala for a few days. After that we went to Nyukurra (Yarrie Station), we stayed there for a few weeks. After that we went to Pirrimaya (Kaliwa Station) and we stayed there for a few weeks.Then we went back to Yarrie Station and we stayed there for a few weeks. Then we went back to Makanu (Makan Station), we stayed for a long time in Makanu Station. My mother and father worked there for a long time. From there we walked to the tin mine at Muliyala,stopping to camp half way, we got up in the morning and walked on to Muliyala.We stayed there for a few weeks. After that we walked back to Makanu, camping half way and then get up in the morning and walked on to Makanu. We was going like that backwards and forwards.
Finally the Nomads mob picked us up in their Bedford truck, we were going from Makanu to Muliyala and they took us to Yirramakartu (Roebourne). We went in the truck to Yirramakartu and we got there at nighttime. The Nomads mob was working there collecting pearl shells
north of Roebourne. From there we shifted and camped south of Roebourne. After that camp we went to Five Mile and stayed there for a long time. I went to school there at Five Mile for 2 years.Then that teacher left and there was no more school. I didn't go to school again for a long time.
Later on when I was a young man, I went back to school in Strelley, learning to read and write in Nyangumarta at night classes. From there, I got a job in the Strelley School as a language teacher. I worked with the high school transcribing language from tapes and teaching the young boys how to transcribe.
Bruce and Linguist Mark Klendon working for WDPAC on Western Desert stories
I worked with Brian Geytenbeek with the Nyangumarta Bible translation. I also worked on the Martu Wangka Bible translation.Then I started work with Wangka Maya. I worked on the Nyangumarta Grammar at the same time I was recording Martu Wangka stories at Punmu and Parnngurr.
When the language program at the South Hedland Primary School first started, I worked as a language teacher there. I also worked as an Interpreter at Centrelink at the same time.
In 1996 I started my language training at Pundulmurra. And later did my Interpreter training at the same time. I am currently working at Western Desert recording language.