The book on the life of an Indigenous leader of the East Kimberley in Western Australia Queenie McKenzie was launched at the National Museum of Australia by Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin, Warmun Community chairperson Shirley Purdie and senior law woman Peggy Patrick to coincide with the tenth anniversary of Queenie’s death.
Written in the Land: the Life of Queenie McKenzie was written by Jennifer Joi Field,. It was a very moving experience launching Queenie McKenzie’s book with the women of the Warmun Community performing ceremony to celebrate the life of such an extroadinary cultural leader and woman. Following the proceedings the Warmun women repeatedly How proud they felt of undertaking this event for the community and that Queenie’s story was now forever in the book for others to read, especially the community kids.
Queenie McKenzie, a remarkable Indigenous woman from the remote East Kimberley in Western Australia, was recognised and respected as one of the most important cultural leaders of the Kimberley, a revered Aboriginal Law person and internationally acclaimed artist.
Dr Patricia Vinnicombe had said of Queenie that She fought for Texas Downs to always belong to the Texas mob, Queenie’s dream was always that the Texas Downs country she painted would one day belong to the Aboriginal people who had always looked after the country and who worked so hard to build the station and muster the cattle,
Written in the Land: The Life of Queenie McKenzie explores her personal story and that of her ˜country’ through her own words and stunning images, including those of her art. Queenie used her artistic works to teach others about her vibrant culture and her life, and as a way to inspire interest in the special and dynamic relationship her people have with the land. The social history of Queenie’s community and their relationship with the Argyle mine is also documented in this book. In 1998, the government of Western Australia declared Queenie a ˜State Living Treasure’, in recognition of her dedication to art and her role as a cultural leader and advocate.
Queenie’s main concern in her later years was the cultural future of the children of her community. This book will contribute in many ways to the cultural strength of Queenie’s community, Warmun community with the financial returns from the book being invested to the community’s cultural programs ensuring that the legacy of Queenie McKenzie lives on.
The book was created with the use of a cultural mapping software program designed by the author of the book, Jennifer Joi Field a program that is now available for any community who want to map their own cultural history, for more information see this website www.culturalmapping.com For more information on the book and Queenie’s community go to the dedicated book website www.writtenintheland.com
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