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  • Big Boss
  • Big Boss

Big Boss

SKU: SG854
    Murrungga Island is situated in the top end of Arnhem Land in a group of islands known as The Crocodile Islands. This is where we find 95-year-old Laurie Baymarrwangga or as she is affectionately known, 'Big Boss', who was named Senior Australian of the Year in 2012.

    Big Boss is the story of this 95-year-old Indigenous Elder and her challenge as the remaining leader of the Yan-nhangu speaking people to pass on her traditional knowledge to the next generation.

    We learn about Baymarrwangga's life story, from her time as a young girl on Murrungga Island to the time she saw the arrival of missionaries, witnessed the arrival of Japanese and European fishermen, and then experienced war and tumultuous change. The story documents a historical legacy of government neglect, and suppression of bilingual education and how the language and culture of the Yan-nhangu came to be in a precarious position.

    The documentary describes Baymarrwangga's single greatest achievement: the Yan-nhangu Dictionary. The dictionary's main aim is to preserve Yan-nhangu language and local knowledge from the potentially damaging consequences of rapid global change.

    Key community people – all related to Big Boss – also feature in the film. Through them, we learn about the unique lifestyle of the Yan-nhangu–speaking people: the traditional method of building a bark canoe, constructing a fish trap and the ritual practices of turtle hunting and the daily collection of turtle eggs.

    Baymarrwangga is the keystone, the critical and last holder of a swathe of traditional knowledge vital to Yan-nhangu people, and the last full speaker of their dialect. No other has a comparable knowledge of the islands, seas, and the ways of the Elders.

    The film will have interest and relevance for middle and senior secondary students of SOSE/HSIE, History, Anthropology, Indigenous Studies, English, Linguistics and Film and Media Studies.

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