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Mirima Dawang Woorlab-gerring:
‘Mirima Place for Talking’
Berrayinga Miriwoong Dawang yoowoorriyantha.
(This is our country, Miriwoong Country.)
Woonyjoo barranggoo dawang yoowoorriyang.
(Please respect this place of ours.)
“Together, we come to the place to keep Miriwoong alive by capturing, sharing and nurturing our language and culture. Together, we build a strong, proud and respectful community where our people have a sense of who they are and the land to which they belong.”
Read about MDWg’s vision and values.
Who we are
Located in the East Kimberley region of Western Australia, the Mirima Dawang Woorlab-gerring Language and Culture Centre (MDWg) began in the 1970s to preserve, analyse and record the language and culture of the Miriwoong and Gajirrabeng people, the original inhabitants of the lands around Kununurra.
Miriwoong is classified as a critically endangered language. There are very few fluent speakers alive and only a few grew up communicating solely in Miriwoong.
Read our latest newsletter.
The land of the Miriwoong and Gajirrabeng people covers a wide area with Kununurra at the heart of Miriwoong country. The Miriwoong and Gajirrabeng people used to live in harmony with the land from Molly Spring in the west, most of the mighty Ord River including parts of Lake Argyle and way beyond the Northern Territory border across Keep River National Park and up to the coast.
Things have changed greatly since this time and many Miriwoong and Gajirrabeng people have moved into town or adjacent communities. MDWg regularly visits the outer communities and the people still living there, to talk about the old times and learn from the abundant knowledge of the Elders.
Did you know the word ‘Kununurra’ does not mean ‘Meeting of big waters’? This is one of the most widespread myths and lacks any linguistic basis. The name is actually derived from the Miriwoong word ‘Goonoonoorrang’ (alternatively Gananoorrang) which means ‘river’. This is a perfect name for the place by the Ord River. Unfortunately, nobody asked the Miriwoong people before publishing the wrong meaning in guide books and promotional materials.
How you can help
The staff and volunteers at MDWg are working tirelessly to save Miriwoong and we need your help. Your contribution is invaluable, and will help to revitalise the Miriwoong language, as well as support Indigenous employment. To find out how you can contribute please visit the ‘Help Save Miriwoong’ page or donate directly via GiveNow.
Mirima Council Aboriginal Corporation is a registered charity through the Australian Charity and Not-for-Profits Commission.