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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Premier and Minister for Trade
    The Honourable Peter Beattie

    UNIQUE INDIGENOUS DICTIONARY FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS: PREMIER

    Premier and Minister for Trade
    The Honourable Peter Beattie

    Wednesday, June 27, 2007

    UNIQUE INDIGENOUS DICTIONARY FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS: PREMIER

    Premier Peter Beattie today applauded a landmark reference book which publishes for the first time the language and cultural traditions of the Thaynakwith people of western Cape York.

    Mr Beattie said the book, completed by Cape York Elder and celebrated artist Dr Thanakupi (Thancoupie) Gloria Fletcher AO, was both a unique dictionary and a comprehensive collection of stories, songs and art.

    “This is a significant body of work and I congratulate Thanakupi because this initiative will ensure future generations continue to have access to their cultural heritage,” Mr Beattie said.

    “As the only remaining fluent speaker of her language, Thanakupi’s book is a critical resource and will undoubtedly attract interest from all over Australia and the world.”

    Thanakupi’s Guide to Language & Culture features colourful photography and Thanakupi’s own illustrations and pottery. It was a three-year project compiled with the cultural advice of Elders and input from linguist Bruce Sommer and historian Geoff Wharton.

    Mr Beattie said the publication received financial assistance from the Queensland Government which actively promotes Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists.

    Acknowledged as one of Australia’s leading ceramic artists, Thanakupi has held more than a dozen solo exhibitions and many combined shows across Australia and overseas. Her works are in all major Australian collections, and one of her well-known ceramic spheres is the featured June entry in the Premier’s 2007 Queensland calendar.

    Thanakupi received an Australia Council for the Arts’ Visual Arts Emeritus Award in February this year for her outstanding career as an Indigenous artist, teacher and community leader.

    She holds Honorary Doctorates from Griffith and James Cook universities and has been awarded an Order of Australia and a Centenary Medal.

    Mr Beattie said Thanakupi has been a pioneer throughout her life, in art and story telling, and now in capturing the culture of her people for posterity.

    Wednesday, June 27, 2007
    Media Contact: Premier’s Office – 07 3224 4500