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North East Arnhem Land

In North East Arnhem Land, Coordinate supports ongoing Scripture work in Yolŋu languages.  In 2008, people in this region celebrated the launch of the New Testament in Djambarrpuyŋu.  In many different ways, Yolŋu Christians are encouraging the use of the Djambarrpuyŋu New Testament in their communities.  Some members of the former ‘Djambarrpuyŋu Bible Translation Project’ are embarking on Scripture translation in other clan languages. 

Scripture workers have a vision for healthy and robust Indigenous Scripture activity growing from Yolŋu initiatives, and supported by the Church and its congregations in the East Arnhem area of the Northern Regional Council of Congress, and beyond.  In keeping with this vision, Indigenous Scripture-in-Use workers move around to share God’s Word with children, church leaders, youth, and small groups in communities, and homelands.  Scripture-in-Use activities include - Bible studies, music reproduction, music workshops, informal Yolŋu Matha literacy instruction, Scripture via new technology (mobiles, etc), power point presentations, poster and banner production.  Ŋändama, Wäŋgarr, Gapany, and Margaret Miller are known especially for their patience and dedication in this field, working ‘little by little’ - to share God’s Word with people in Yolŋu languages.

SIL and The Seed Company have developed ‘OurWord’ - a user-friendly program enabling Indigenous people to translate from a consultant checked Bible in a related language, to generate a translation draft of passages and books in their own target language. In September 2009, people from North East and West Arnhem met in Darwin for an intensive ‘OurWord’ workshop with 5 languages: Wangurri, Warramiri, Golumala, Gupapuyŋu, and Maung.  In September 2010, representatives of 3 more language groups attended: Dhay’yi, Dhuwaya, and Kuninjku.  In December 2011, training continued for these Indigenous translators, while other people around the areas of North East and West Arnhem are wanting to learn the skills for translation into yet more languages.  Drafts of Mark’s Gospel are now completed in Wangurri, Golumaḻa (Dhuwa Dhaŋu), and Dhuwaya - these drafts are now into the checking stages.  Coordinate has supported the travel and logistics for ‘OurWord’ workshops and associated activities.  ‘OurWord’ translators have had technical and linguistic support from experienced trainers Mally McLellan, AuSIL staff Chuck and Barbara Grimes, Mary Skidmore, John Wimbish and Stuart Cameron.