Trudy Inkamala is a highly respected Western Arrernte Elder and Traditional Owner.
Many of the first Honey Ant Readers story books were inspired by discussions between the author, Margaret James, and Elders from the areas surrounding Alice Springs, led by Trudy and her daughter, Rhonda.
This collaborative thinking initiated many wonderful bush excursions with Trudy and her family, capped off with traditional lunches of hot, ash-baked kangaroo tails, bush onions or honey ants (with fresh damper, if it was cold).
Trudy, a long-time advocate of ‘both-ways education’, and a passionate educator, wished HARs to include her stories in the books, to help all Aboriginal children to learn to read, while preserving the traditional stories in writing and passing that knowledge on. Soon ‘story-telling’ sessions gave Margaret and Trudy the opportunity of spending time together, sipping cups of tea on hot, sleepy, desert, summer afternoons or huddled in front of a fire when the extreme desert weather became refreshingly cold – as they shared many stories about their families.
Thus began the collaborative ‘honey ant’ journey, which has wound its way around and through many an intricate maze of tunnels to reach the shared dream of books in schools for Aboriginal learners, based on their world. While Margaret worked on the pedagogy and structure of the books, Trudy determined which of her lively, recorded stories should be used in the books. We hope that you will enjoy reading adaptations of those stories in books 12, 13 and 14.
It is for the beautiful children that we devote our time and energy, in the belief that giving them pride in where they come from, and books which match their view of the world, will give them the confidence to succeed in both worlds – the modern world of reading, writing, computers and mathematics, and their traditional world of ancient knowledge, law and multiple languages.