Ninggoowoong Woorrnging: The Miriwoong Family Song

Ninggoowoong Woorrnging: The Miriwoong Family Song

On June 9, a cohort of Year 3 students performed a Miriwoong song at the Kununurra District High School’s whole school assembly. This is the first time in recent memory that a song in an Indigenous language has been performed at the school.

This performance marks a very special occasion, and highlights how the school community is embracing the Miriwoong language and culture. The song is entitled ‘Ninggoowoong Woorrnging’, The Miriwoong Family Song. It was written by Rozanne Bilminga, a member of MDWg’s Miriwoong Language Nest.

The Language Nest Team watches on proudly as the Year 3 students sing in Miriwoong.
The Language Nest Team watch on proudly as the Year 3 students sing in Miriwoong.

The Miriwoong Language Nest team have been teaching ‘Ninggoowoong Woorrnging’ to the Year 3 cohort throughout the term. The song links in with a unit about ‘family’ that students have been learning.

A proud day for the Miriwoong Language Nest

The performance is a source of both pride and joy for the writer, Rozanne. “I felt really proud of myself, I felt really happy because the kids finally sang my song”. It was clear from the faces of the Year 3 students that they were also feeling really proud to be sharing the Miriwoong they’ve been learning.

"I couldn't stop smiling... I was really happy"- Rozanne Bilminga was proud to see her song being performed at the school.
“I couldn’t stop smiling… I was really happy”- Rozanne Bilminga was proud to see her song being performed at the school.

Language Nest Facilitator, Brandon Wiltshire says the song is a first for teaching complex grammar structures. “Instead of directly teaching the grammar, they’re getting it in the song. When they’re singing the song they’re actually making complete Miriwoong sentences”. When asked about how the song came to be performed in front of the whole school, Brandon said “it was actually the kids that came first wanting to show off what they were learning.”

The Year 3 students at KDHS performing Ninggoowoong Woorrnging at a whole school assembly.
The Year 3 students at KDHS performing Ninggoowoong Woorrnging at a whole school assembly.

When asked about the future of the Miriwoong Language Nest, Rozanne says “in the next couple of years I’d like to see the Language Nest grow. I want to see more young Aboriginal people get involved and show other people that our language does exist.”

a positive Reaction to Ninggoowoong Worrnging

We received lots of positive feedback about the song from the community on our Facebook page, and The ABC Kimberley interviewed Miriwoong Language Nest team members Rozanne Bilminga and Brandon Wiltshire about the performance. Listen to this interview in the video below.