Singing Saltwater Country: Journey to the Songlines of Carpentaria

Singing Saltwater Country: Journey to the Songlines of Carpentaria. John Bradley and Yanyuwa Families.

This is a book I read over the summer of 2011 and 2012. Written by John Bradley with the Yanyuwa Families, it explores the meaning of Songlines or Kujika in the Yanyuwa nation. The concept of Kujika is a bit of a difficult concept for outsiders to grasp, so Bradley has written this book by associating particular concepts one at a time to Kujika. As the pathways of Kujika a followed the reader learns about the connection people have to the land, to their coming, to their heritage, to their kinship, to their country, to their language, to their life and to their belonging.

Other interesting topics in the book include: how the concept of Kujika was presented to the courts of law during land claims; how Kujika functions as a part of initiation ceremonies; the fear of the loss of language and tradition as information is not passed onto the newer generations as the older generations pass; sadness that people feel shifting from a nomadic people that followed the Kujika to a people who are in townships; and the incorporation of kinship into the daily life and the importance these relationships have.

This book was a good read to understand the traditions of the people in the Yanyuwa nation and how much their traditions have changed. I recommend reading it as one studies LING366/566 at UNE – it will only complement one’s studies.

Nait

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