A new book by Anangu men sharing stories of care and hope for family and community
Atunymanama (AH-tuhn-mahn-ah-mah) celebrates Aboriginal men as care-givers, teachers and leaders in a stunning book of family portraits and personal stories. Atunymanama is the latest offering from a group of Anangu men from the NPY lands in the remote central desert of Australia, known as the Uti Kulintjaku Watiku collective.
This group of respected senior and younger Anangu are a part of the Uti Kulintjaku Project, an initiative of the NPY Women’s Council. The group have been working together since 2016 to strengthen Anangu identity, increase wellbeing and promote healing, to prevent family violence. Their previous book Tjanimaku Tjukurpa won the Chief Minister’s NT Book Award for Young Adult/Children’s Book last year.
“If I was to give a message to my two sons…
I think I’d say, “always be happy to look after all your families and keep them safe. If it’s hard, get back on your feet and keep going. Stay firm to keep your home strong”.
Atunymanama can be translated as ‘always keep looking after, protecting, keeping safe’ (Pitjantjatjara). In their own words and languages, the men share what it is to care for their families and communities, and what it takes to nurture strong, caring young men and women, as Anangu have done across generations.
Deeply concerned about the levels of family violence in their communities, senior women from NPY Women’s Council invited respected men to work alongside them to address family violence. Amplifying Anangu knowledge systems was key to finding transformative ways to address the complex and challenging issues involved in improving Anangu social, emotional, spiritual and physical wellbeing. Atunymanama was supported by the Department of Social Services, Men as Role Models Program.
In making this book, the men from the Uti Kulintjaku Watiku collective wanted to leave a legacy for those coming after.
‘It is for people to have and read for when we are not here. In the future, I want my story to be there for the families to see us and who I am and what all us men were aiming for… we don’t want to hide these photos. We want to show the kids coming up behind and read it to them because we are role models and the storytellers for the future.’