Meerooni Gurang - Margaret Blackman PDF Print E-mail

Young Indigenous Writers Initiative (Alexis Wright) My name is Margaret Blackman, I am from the Gurang people which are my father’s clan group, from the area around Gladstone to Bundaberg and my mothers’ people Yidinji from Goldsbrough and Gordonvale along the Mulgrave River. I am the youngest of four sisters. My Language is very important to me, and for me to get a better understanding of how important is it to us as indigenous people, I interviewed my father’s older brother Uncle Shayne. He is a very strong Indigenous leader who has great integrity and values and who I respect very much. Here is our story:


Uncle Shayne: My Language is Meerooni Gurang and the area it is from is between Gladstone and Bundaberg

Uncle Shayne: I think nganyunda (speaking) Meerooni is important. I believe that it helps people to have pride in themselves by understanding who they are where they come from. It also helps them to see that they have a history associated with this land, and that they have a real sense of belonging. It’s not just where they are from but a real spiritual attachment to the land as well. The land has kept it’s people sustained for a long time and it is important and a part of their identity and a part of their cultural heritage. They should really take pride in the fact that they do have a history and do have a culture.


Myself: I feel this is a really great understanding on how important my language is and how I connect to my land. It makes me want to keep this alive for young generations ahead.


Uncle Shayne: I think that sprituality and religion are part of who we are. I’m indigenous and I believe in God. It’s about discovering the foundation of what you actually believe in and being able to incorporate that into how you express those beliefs. I believe that there was a creator of the heavens and the earth and that there is a God. And that God existed prior to white people coming here. Our people have a word for God. From where we come from we call him Biral. I have an understanding from an Indigenous Christian point of view who God is, and I incorporate that understanding into how I practice my beliefs.


Myself: I believe in God. I also know that language connects us spiritually to country by giving us the names of the mountains and rivers and everything else. Being an Indigenous person gives me a real sense of belonging and connection to this wonderful land of ours.


My thoughts in doing this project was that I had a spiritual understanding of what language is and what it is to my Elders. I feel I really need to maintain my culture and part of that is keeping my language alive and strong for generations to come. Yunandi (Goodbye)