Melanie Mununggurr reflects on her Poetry in First Languages commission for Red Room Poetry and its significance to her cross-generational Djapu ties.
Being commissioned to write my poem 'Wäŋa Marrkapmi (My Beloved Homeland)' in my dialect, Dhuwal, was a tremenous honour and an enourmous accomplishment. I am a proud Djapu daughter of my proud Djapu father. We both understand the importance and urgency of maintaining our language, especially since there are not many Dhuwal speakers from the Djapu clan. My father Barayuwa Munuŋgurr, is an elder of the Djapu people and writng this poem with him was an beautifully special experience.
The story of yearning for the land is one that so many First Nations people know. The process of yearning for my homeland and paying my respect to my country through writing bilingual poetry was deeply gratifying.
It means so much to my family and I to do our part in the decolonisation of our stories. By writing in Dhuwal I am actively contributing to maintaining our language and decolonising Australian literature.