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Language of the Month | Language, Earth, Mother, Dont, Wajaarr, Aboriginal, Miimiga, South | FATSILC, Fed. Aboriginal Torres Strait Island Languages and Culture
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This is the first of a series of articles on indigenous languages which will be published on the internet at this address

The Gumbaynggir language belongs to the people of the north coast region of New South Wales. The language area extends from the Clarence River near Grafton in the north, west to Guyra and Ben Lomond, and south to Scotts Head.

There are ten fluent speakers of the language, most of whom are assisting in programs to teach the language in twelve of the local schools.

For further information about the Gumbaynggir language contact:
Muurbay Aboriginal Language and Culture Co-op Ltd
465 Bellwood Road Nambucca Heads NSW 2448
Phone 065 694294
Fax 065 694295

If you would like an article from your language area published in "Language of the Month", contact Faith Baisden on
Phone 07 3807 0885 or
Fax 07 3807 8922.

Who owns?

Biway! Yaam gumburr nganyundi
No this spirit mine

biiway garruugugundi
not someone else's

Ya banggi waruungga wajaada: biyagay malanyay
It flies over Earth; does not delay

Ya gurriin-bugany, barranyjinyja nguujuway
It like the wind in the reeds is silent

Bayigam, garriil-bugany, wurruun balgaarray;
Loving, like an eagle, wings spread;

Jaanybarr darrunday, gurraaday, midinyambay guuyumbay.
Men (it) heals cleanses makes proud empowers.

Jagun, gundi, niigarr biyagay mayungiling Miimiga Wajaarr.
Belonging to homeland, black people don't own Mother Earth.

Miimiga Wajaadu mayungiling, nyaagiling niigarr.
Mother Earth owns give birth to black people.

Yaam wajaarr, wajaarr jagii, Wajaarr Wanggaan
This land land sacred, Australia (South Land)

Biguurrgarri, giduurr-garri ngayan-bugany
Bearing trees and sand sun-like

Yi Manaynga! Bulmay-bulmay! Wunaa bagulwa, ngaalgirra!
Beware strangers warlike! Don't destroy (and) harm!

Gada-waaling Miimiga Wajaarr.
Almost died has Mother Earth.

Wunaa malanyay. Wala biiwayayiw gangaa!
Don't delay. Maybe it will end by and by!

Emily Walker
Emily Walker

No! Nobody can own this spirit of mine, Soaring over the Earth, wasting no time. To see, to feel a friend in need,

It's like the whispering of the reeds.

Love can spread like the wings of an eagle! Healing, cleansing, makes men proud and regal.

Indigenous, the people don't own Mother Earth; It is Mother earth who owns, who gave birth; This place, the spiritual land Of Australia with its trees and golden sand. So beware invaders! Don't destroy and rape! Mother Earth is dying. Stop, before it's too late!

Note! Because English language is linked to English ways of thinking, and Aboriginal language is linked to Aboriginal ways of thinking, it is never possible to have an "exact" translation. For instance, "regal" is translated using the word for "elder" because there is no royalty in the Aboriginal world.