Welcome to My Country

Laklak Burarrwanga, Family

Welcome to My Country
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Welcome to My Country

Laklak Burarrwanga, Family

‘We can go anywhere and see a river, hill, tree, rock telling a story.’

Laklak Burarrwanga and family invite you to their Country, centred on a beautiful beach in Arnhem Land. Its crystal waters are full of fish, turtle, crab and stingray, to hunt; the land behind has bush fruits, pandanus for weaving, wood for spears, all kinds of useful things. This country is also rich with meaning.

Here too is Laklak’s own history, from her long walk across Arnhem Land as a child to her people’s fight for land rights and for a say in their children’s schooling. She and her family stand tall, a proud and successful Indigenous community.

Review

The Yolngu people of Bawaka – a beautiful, remote beach in the East Arnhem Land region – are said to be the most culturally intact Indigenous group in Australia. This book, a collaboration by six Indigenous women and three non-Indigenous academics, is a very thoughtful introduction to their lives and history.

The narrative offers the sort of warm personality that textbooks often lack as we get to know Laklak Burarrwanga and her family – how they live off the land, their unique dependency on it, and the continual fight for their culture. The book meanders between lifestyle, Dreamtime stories and Laklak’s own story, which I chose to read in one go, returning to the lifestyle and Dreamtime stories afterwards.

With colour photos, artwork and a Yolngu word list, this is an interesting mix for 12+ readers, or adults like me with little knowledge of life in an Indigenous community.


Emily Gale is a Children’s & YA Specialist at Readings Carlton, and a Children’s & YA writer the rest of the time.

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