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Djiningi djurra manymak ‘This is a good book’

Stanley-Rankin

Photo Caption: Stanley Rankin and Batchelor Institute linguist Margaret Carew, at Maningrida College, August 2018.

Stanley Djalarra Rankin is one of the ceremonial leaders for the Miwal story which contains important sacred traditional knowledge of the Marrangu Djinang people of north-central Arnhem Land.

It has been a life-long dream of Stanley’s to publish the Miwal ga Djambuwal story which, thanks to a partnership between Maningrida College and the Centre for Australian Languages and Linguistics (CALL), has now come true.

Batchelor Press, the publishing arm of Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education, recently published the book Miwal ga Djambuwal written by Stanley in his father’s Djinang language.

Stanley works in the Lúrra Language and Culture team as a Djinang Language and Culture Teacher at Maningrida College.

When the books were delivered to the school, Stanley immediately took copies to his countrymen who were performing the Marrangu songs for a local ceremony.

Stanley said “I feel very proud to hold this book, djiningi djurra manymak”.

The book will be a valuable resource for the local school and will be enjoyed by family members in the Maningrida and Ramingining districts.

The book has also been sent to the Miwal Ranger group in southern Arnhem Land who are the rangers that look after country that is part of the Miwal songline.

Stanley is also the local producer for the Miwal Song Project which documents in song, dance and art the songline that connects many Djowunga/Dhuwa clan groups in Eastern and Central Arnhem Land.

The key themes of the song cycle are Miwal and Djarwarri, two ancestral travellers. Djarwarri is the ancestor for ‘wild honey’ (sugarbag), and much of the performative action in these songs centres on Miwal searching for the prized substance.

Stanley’s local group, the Wurrkiganydjarr, means ‘flower-power’ and refers to the importance of the stringybark tree and its flower, which provides the nectar used by native bees to make sugarbag.

The songs also reflect the seasonal cycle, topography and habitats of Marrangu country.

Stanley received a grant from the Community Broadcasting Foundation to produce the Miwal films in 2015 which are available on the CALL website: https://call.batchelor.edu.au/film/mewal-a-marrangu-songline/

Stanley always dreamed of going to university and in 2013 he enrolled in the Preparation for Tertiary Success (PTS) course. After completing PTS Stanley was equipped with the skills, knowledge and confidence to undertake higher education.

Stanley is more than a third of the way through the Diploma of Indigenous Language Work which he has been doing part-time while continuing his language work working in the school, writing books and producing videos.

Stanley’s work is supported by the Maningrida Language Support Program co-ordinated by CALL at Batchelor Institute and funded by the Australian Government’s Indigenous Languages and Arts program.

Contact Batchelor Institute at www.batchelor.edu.au or 1800 677 095 for more information about Batchelor Press, CALL and courses offered by Batchelor Institute.