GUNGARRI VOICES: Elder Ethel Munn with an original copy of Yamani – Voices of an Ancient Land.
GUNGARRI VOICES: Elder Ethel Munn with an original copy of Yamani – Voices of an Ancient Land. Blake Antrobus

Roma Aboriginal elder Ethel Munn featured in new doco

ETHEL Munn grew up with the Gungarri language in her everyday speech, and now she’s been given the opportunity to preserve it for future generations with the help of a Qantas-supported documentary about sharing language through song.

The Gungarri elder recently appeared in the documentary Yamani –Voices of an Ancient Land alongside representatives from the Queensland Indigenous Languages Advisory Committee, a collective of women from indigenous languages across Queensland.

The documentary coincides with the release of their album of the same name from last year, and charts the women’s use of song to share languages between cultures and generations.

Ms Munn said the art of song was a better way of learning the language rather than trying to teach it to others from the ground up.

“I’ve always believed it’s easier to sing in languages than it is to talk in it,” she said.

“Because the language has been lost for so long it’s very difficult to pick up where we left off.”

Qantas has commenced screening the documentary aboard their planes after approaching the committee after the release of their CD last year.

Ms Munn said she was very happy with the support received over the project, stating it had been an uphill battle for indigenous women over the years.

“Because of the life we’ve always lived, you keep getting up and proving yourself,” she said.

“I’ve always believed that when you get it right and put it between your ears you will succeed.”

She also said the chance to participate in the documentary would help break any negative impressions of women working in indigenous culture.

“We’re trying to set a positive role model for women; focus on the positive aspects of our culture and not the negative stereotypes that people still hold today,” Ms Munn said.


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