In 2020 the McArthur River Mine Community Benefits Trust supported the development of the Garrwa and Gunindirri Garrwa Plants and Animals book instigated by the Borroloola School in partnership with the University of Queensland and the Northern Territory Government, Department of Environment, Parks and Water Security. The project is part of an ongoing program gathering the language and traditional ethnobiological knowledge of the local culture.
The publication is both a comprehensive book of plant and animal names and an encyclopedia of information about their uses and cultural significance. Included in the publication are QR codes linking with sound recordings to enable readers to hear the correct pronunciation of words. The project has provided casual employment for several fluent speakers of Garrwa who have contributed to the recordings. The project was coordinated by Ethnobiologist Glenn Wightman and Associate Professor Ilana Mushin, an academic linguist who has been documenting the Garrwa language since 1999.
The book received the Mrs Nakkamarra Nixon Award for Excellence in Language Preservation in 2020, which was presented to the Garrwa speakers and language experts in Borroloola in 2022.
The Garrwa and Gunindirri Garrwa Plants and Animals book is an essential teaching resource to help foster a connection and understanding to the Garrwa language for future generations. The McArthur River Mine Community Benefits Trust are proud to be supporting the maintenance and revitalisation of this rich cultural and linguistic heritage.