Maningrida action project

The Maningrida Action Project took place mainly in 2017-2018. This was when consultants from the Kuninjku, Gun-nartpa, Wurlaki & Djinang, Ndjébbana and Kun-barlang language groups recorded signs – or ‘actions’ – for kin, animals, plants and everyday objects.

The project made 4 posters showing common kinship signs used in the Maningrida region with kinship vocabulary from 4 different language groups – Gun-nartpa & Burarra, Wurlaki & Djinang, Kuninjku & Kune, and Ndjébbana, the language of the Kunibidji who are the owners of the country where Maningrida stands. The project team went through the many hours of recordings from the two workshops in 2017 and 2018 and compiled many video clips of actions. This work is still going on.


This is a portfolio of short clips of actions recorded by the team.

Dorothy Galaledba and Janet Gumbiyarra act out a hunting scenario, speaking in Gun-nartpa and using actions. Their father and uncle are hunting kangaroo. They bring the kangaroo over, they build a fire, butcher the animal, cook it and eat it. Then everyone is thirsty and they call out for water.


Project acknowledgements:

We acknowledge the Kunibidji people as the owners of the land and waters of Maningrida and the surrounding country. Thankyou for hosting this project on your country. We also acknowledge and pay our respects to the elders past, present and emerging of all the different clan and language groups in the Maningrida region.

We thank the signers at Maningrida who have participated in this project: S. Namundja, Jennifer Wurrkidj, Melba Kurrdjarrwanga (Kuninjku), Raymond Walanggay, Patrick Mudjana Litchfield, Crusoe Batara England, Dorothy Galaledba, Janet Gumbiyarra, Trixie Nadjerrdjerr (Gun-nartpa), Lena Djabíbba (Ndjébbana), Millie Djamuddjana (Kunbarlang), Margaret Rinybuma, Simon Pascoe (Wurlaki)

Linguists: Jenny Green, Margaret Carew, Murray Garde, Carolyn Coleman

Camera and stills: Jenny Green and Margaret Carew

Poster artwork: Jenny Taylor

Poster design: Chris Storey

We thank Maningrida Arts and Culture and Jodie Kell for their support and assistance during our fieldwork in Maningrida in August 2017.

The Maningrida Action Project is a collaboration between the Research Unit for Indigenous Language (RUIL) at the University of Melbourne and the Centre for Australian Languages and Linguistics (CALL) at Batchelor Institute. Jennifer Green’s research is funded through the Australian Research Council (DE160100873). CALL is funded by the Australian Government’s Indigenous Languages and Arts program (ILA).

Updates to the Maningrida Action Project in 2022 are supported by the Bilingual Education and Indigenous Languages and Cultures team, NT Department of Education.