Atunymanama by NPY Women’s Council
Review by Jane Lloyd
Atunymanama (AH-tuhn-mahn-ah-mah) the latest publication from NPY Women’s Council celebrates and encourages Anangu men – fathers and grandfathers as care-givers, teachers and leaders in a stunning book of family portraits and personal stories. The Ngaanyatjarra, Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara men in this book are both young and elderly and since 2016 have worked together as the Uti Kulintjaku Watiku team in unison with the women’s Uti Kulintjaku Minymaku team. The women specifically invited the men to work alongside them to address family violence.
While Atunymanama does not directly address the gendered structures, beliefs and behaviours which contribute to family violence, it gives voice to the men’s social and cultural leadership, their active nurturing roles and responsibilities within their families. The men proudly celebrate these roles and responsibilities as cultural guardians and guides especially for their young grandsons, reflecting on the teachings and guidance of their grandparents and parents. Younger father Lloyd Wilyuka gives homage to his grandmothers’ teachings and care and protection as well as the teachings and care from his father’s older brother who took care of him after his father passed away. Lloyd is pictured with his wife and sons. Kieran Roberts’s is also pictured with his wife and daughter and the family portrait reminds him of his wife and daughter and their happiness as a family. He looks forward to teaching his daughter about bush foods.
The book is dedicated to the late and sorely missed Yankunytjatjara and Pitjantjatjara man R. Hoosan (1963 – 2022) and includes his honest reflections and aspirations for his grandsons. He stressed the need to model responsible social and family behaviours, to walk the talk. “….I’ve also got to do what I’m saying. I’ve got to do the actions so they can see that I’m doing it, not just talking. It’s good to keep on talking with your grandsons but they’ve got to see me do it. ….so we never stop caring, no. It’s for life.”
Atunymanama is a beautiful and optimistic homage to the role and responsibilities of men in the past, present and future wellbeing of their children and families.