An Indigenous Christmas Story: "Christmas Tree and Animals"

Image sourced from living Archive of Indigenous Languages: Kulilypuru

This year, celebrate Christmas with Indigenous languages. Through the Living Archive of Aborignal Languages (LAAL) you can access a selection of Christmas themed stories written in Kriol and Pitjantjatjara. The Living Archive of Aboriginal Languages is a digital archive of literature written in Australian Indigenous languages of the Northern Territory. This archive is a necessary tool for preserving endangered literature, through a process of collecting, recording, and translating a range of Indigenous stories written in language. Many of these stories were written over 30 years ago by children who were learning to read and write in their own languages and English. Language and art is essential to preserving culture. LAAL is a living archive with connections to the people and communities where these books were created. Through the respectful use of these resources readers gain a deeper insight and appreciation of First Nations language and culture.

Here we have included the story Kulilypuru (Christmas Tree and Animals), written in Pitjantjatjara language with the English translation. This story was written by Judy and Margaret Ampi in Areyonga, 1988.

Image sourced from living Archive of Indigenous Languages: Kulilypuru


Kanyalanya pula kurparunya anu puṉu kulilypuṟu ngurilkitja.

Munu pula ma-pitjala nyangu puṉu wiṟunya mulapa ngaṟanyangka.

Ka kurpaṟulu ankula altingu tjikamaṯanya, mingkirinya, mulumaṟunya munu waṉkanya.

Waṉkanya puṉu kulilypurungka kaḻpangu munu para ngaṟala walka wiṟunya palyaningi.

Ka kupaṟulu ankula anguṟa tjuṯa mantjiṟa katingi ka tjilkamaṯalu pula mingkirilu piinta piranpangka unyaṟa waṟalytjunu kulilypurungka.

Munuya wiyaringkula paṯaningi waḻawurulu kiḻilpi katira puṉungka katu tjunkunytjaku.

Puṯu pataṟaya kunkunaringu ka waḻawurulu kiḻilpi katira tjunu kulilypurungka katu.

Kaya wankaringkula nyangu puṉu wirunya mulapa ngaṟanyangka munuya puḻkaṟa pukuḻarira inma christmas pukuḻpatjara waraningi.

Image sourced from living Archive of Indigenous Languages: Kulilypuru


Christmas Tree and Animals (English Translation)

Kangaroo and magpie went looking for a native cypress pine.

They went and found a really good tree.

Magpie went and called echidna, mouse, black goanna and spider.

Spider climbed the tree and made a beautiful design with his web.

Magpie went and picked some bush coconut and brought them back and echidna and mouse peeled them smeared them with white paint and hung the fruit on the tree.

Finally When they’d finished they waited for the wedge-tailed eagle brought to bring a star to sit and set it on top.

But they were waiting so long they went to sleep and then the eagle brought a star and placed it on top of the cypress pine.

When they awoke they saw the tree beautifully decorated and with great joy they all enjoyed this beautiful tree and sang joyful Christmas carols.

Image sourced from living Archive of Indigenous Languages: Kulilypuru

You can read the full story with illustrations here

Other Christmas Stories from Living Archive of Aboriginal Languages:

Krismis Story 
Samting Special 
Mama Kritjimitji 

We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land and sea. We pay our respect to all Elders, past, present and emerging.