Literary Nonfiction. Poetry. Women's Studies, Native Australian Studies. Shortlisted for SPN Book of the Year Award. Forty years ago, letters, words and feelings flowed between a teenage daughter and her mother. Letters written by that teenage daughter—me—handed around family back home, disappeared. Yet letters from that mother to her teenage daughter—me—remained protected in my red life-journey suitcase. I carried them across time and landscapes as a mother would carry her baby in a thaga. In 1978–79, I was living in an Aboriginal girls' hostel in the Bentley suburb of Perth, attending senior high school. Mum and I sent handwritten letters to each other. I was a small-town teenager stepping outside of all things I had ever known. Mum remained in the only world she had ever known. NGANAJUNGU YAGU was inspired by Mother's letters, her life and the love she instilled in me for my people and my culture. A substantial part of that culture is language, and I missed out on so much language interaction having moved away. I talk with my ancestors' language—Badimaya and Wajarri—to honour ancestors, language centres, language workers and those Yamaji who have been and remain generous in passing on cultural knowledge.
Charmaine Papertalk Green is from the Wajarri, Badimaya and Southern Yamaji peoples of Mid West Western Australia. She has lived and worked in rural Western Australia (Mid West and Pilbara) most of her life, and within the Aboriginal sector industry as a community agitator, artist/poet, community development practitioner and social sciences researcher. Her poetry has appeared in Antipodes, Artlink Magazine, Cordite Poetry Review, The Kenyon Review and The Lifted Brow, as well as in the anthologies The Fremantle Press Anthology of Western Australian Poetry, Inside Black Australia: An Anthology of Aboriginal Poetry, Ora Nui: A Collection of Maori and Aboriginal Literature, The Penguin Book of Australian Women Poets and Those Who Remain Will Always Remember: An Anthology of Aboriginal Writing. She lives in Geraldton, Western Australia.Author City: Geraldton AUS