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Wujal Wujal Elders share stories for future generations

[by Michael Zappone]


Image: supplied


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Elders from the Wujal Wujal Community in Cape York, Queensland are taking part in an innovative Community Publishing program with the Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF) to ensure their Kuku Yalanji language and stories are heard for years to come.


Supported by Australia Post, the ILF’s CREATE Program assists remote First Nations Communities to write, illustrate and publish books that celebrate and share their stories and languages. An ILF team with publishing and writing expertise support Community members throughout the program to develop storylines and meet book publishing requirements.


The Wujal Wujal CREATE Program saw Elders working with the ILF team including Chief Executive Officer Ben Bowen and award-winning writer and editor Lystra Rose in mid July. Over five days, Elders shared selected stories with the ILF team, including children’s stories. The Community decide which stories may one day turn into bilingual books, celebrating the Kuku Yalanji language and gifting future readers with stories that to date, have only partially been written down and shared verbally within the Wujal Wujal Community.


Ben Bowen understands the important opportunity that the Wujal Wujal CREATE Program provides, and the generosity of the Elders to share their knowledge and stories. “I am fortunate to come into the ILF with an Aboriginal perspective, having grown up as part of a thriving Indigenous Community. Having worked with the Wujal Wujal Community over the years it was amazing to be able to sit and learn from the Elders, listening to their stories and vision for their Community. To be able to platform the knowledge, skills, spirit and strength of the people in Community to publish their stories in languages is a privilege,” he said.


Australia Post General Manager Community, Stakeholder and Engagement Nicky Tracey said: “The ILF’s CREATE Program brings to life our Reconciliation Action Plan commitment to celebrate and raise awareness of the UN Decade of Indigenous Languages. In addition to this month’s program in Wujal Wujal, we are proud to be supporting a further two CREATE programs later this year, for students from the Tiwi Islands and the Eastern Arnhem Region Community of Yirrkala.


Together with the wonderful team at the ILF, we’ll continue to support remote First Nations Communities to share their own stories and languages, and to deliver culturally appropriate books to children in these Communities.”


Australia Post has sold more than 6350 bilingual ILF books, and co-designed free educational resources for Australian schools to celebrate the Decade of Indigenous Languages. Australia Post has also delivered more than 388,000 books to 453 remote Communities since the partnership began in 2019 and has recommitted its support for a further three years.








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