Archive shares Indigenous Christmas stories

17-Dec-2014

Ms Cathy Bow said stories about Christmas were among the many stories in the archive

Ms Cathy Bow said stories about Christmas were among the many stories in the archive


Stories of Christmas, written in endangered traditional Aboriginal languages and illustrated by hand, are among the treasures to be found in Charles Darwin University’s Living Archive of Aboriginal Languages.

From uniquely Australian Outback interpretations of Christmas that show birds and kangaroos decorating local trees with bush foods, to translations of traditional Christmas carols or the birth of Jesus, all the stories are imbued with an Indigenous flavor. 

Living Archive Project Manager Ms Cathy Bow said stories about Christmas were among the many stories in the archive.

“Some are more traditionally Indigenous stories, and some with non-Indigenous themes,” Ms Bow said. "All are in language, and many have English translations."

They are just some of the stories we have collected as part of the Living Archives Project, which aims to preserve valuable cultural and linguistic heritage for endangered languages of the Northern Territory.”

Among the Christmas works in the digital archive is “Christmas”, a book produced by students at the Irrultja school, with their teachers. Irrultja is a small Aboriginal community in 300km north-east of Alice Springs, in the Northern Territory. There are 40 students at the school, aged from four to 15, and all speak Alyawarra as their first language.

The story is written in Alyawarra and illustrated with drawings and photos of the children performing the Christmas story. The book was created in 2001 and subsequently preserved digitally and uploaded to the archive in 2014.

The Living Archive of Aboriginal Languages began in 2012 as an initiative of the Northern Institute at CDU and is funded by the Australian Research Council.


Links
Living Archive of Aboriginal Languages: http://laal.cdu.edu.au
‘Christmas’ from Irrwelty school: http://laal.cdu.edu.au/record/cdu:41975/info/
‘Kulilypuru’ from Areyonga: http://laal.cdu.edu.au/record/cdu:32112/info/
Songs in Burarra including Christmas carols: http://laal.cdu.edu.au/record/cdu:34169/info/