Review Blog

Jun 05 2018

Nganga: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander words and phrases by Aunty Fay Muir and Sue Lawson

cover image

Black Dog Books, 2018. ISBN 9781921977015
(Age: 12+) Highly recommended. Nganga is translated as 'to see and understand'. The book presents an alphabetical list of words and phrases to do with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture or related issues. Many are words encountered in everyday life but perhaps without being able to give a good explanation - for example, the difference between Aboriginal, aborigine, and Indigenous.
The book explains words such as songlines, sorry business, cleverman, skin names, moiety and totem but also provides historical context for colonialism, assimilation, Aboriginal Protection Board, NAIDOC, terra nullius and native title. Do you know what a waddy is, or a yidaki, or a scar tree? The explanations are concise and easy to understand, and the print is well-spaced so is suitable for younger as well as older readers.
It is a simple little book, easy to pick up and read something interesting, or as a reference for school studies. It includes 'see' references for related terms. I would recommend this book for all school libraries, particularly as we celebrate National Reconciliation Week, or NAIDOC Week, but also as a useful reference for Aboriginal perspectives across the curriculum.
Helen Eddy

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