Gija people live in the towns of Halls Creek (Yarliyil) and Kununurra and in the Aboriginal communities of Warmun (Warrmarn), Woorrerenginy (Frog Hollow), Violet Valley, Bow River and Crocodile Hole. Gija people have a long association with Kimberley cattle industry, having worked for many years on Cattle stations on Gija country such as Moola Bulla, Springvale, Alice Downs, Sophie Downs, Mabel Downs, Texas Downs, Lissadell and Bedford Downs. The spectacular Gija countryside is subject of many paintings by Gija artists, most of whom paint for the Warmun Art Centre. Gija is an endangered language spoken in the east Kimberley region of Western Australia.
Gija and its northerly neighbour Miriwoong are members of the Jarragan language family, named after the Gija word jarrag, ‘to speak’. The language is spoken fluently by around twenty senior women and men, most of whom are actively engaged in efforts to revitalise the language. These days most Gija people speak a variety of Kimberley Kriol that is infused with words from the Gija language.
Field recording for the Gija corpus (funded by the Macquarie University New Staff grant 'Multiparty conversation in Gija, an endangered language of the East Kimberley, WA') has now been completed. Further funds are being sought to continue the development of this corpus.