The University of Sydney launched ‘The Kinship Online Learning Module’ in July this year. Developed by Lynette Riley and the National Centre for Cultural Competence, it is based on a face-to-face cultural awareness training designed to promote Aboriginal cultural education at the tertiary level.
Whilst the focus of the module is, as the name says, about kinship systems this discussion necessarily touches on language at times. In addition, one of the ‘sectors’ looks a little more closely at language. Again, this is not an in-depth review, but still worth a look.
I found the ‘community narratives’ of particular interest. Here, there are interviews – some over an hour long – with Aboriginal men and women about their reflections on various topics. Many of the interviewees are Gamiliroi or Wiradjuri people. They cover a wide range of issues, from kinship to racism to language.
Beth Wright discusses the ‘word barrier’ that can exist between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people and tells the story of the trouble that was caused because a school teacher once told a boy to ‘shake’ a snow dome she had brought to class (no, I’m not going to tell you the rest of the story – better to hear it from Beth).
In another interview, Doug Cameron says “there’s a big gap in my life”, talking about the significance to him of not having learnt his traditional language from his grandparents.
There is much, much more shared in these interviews; history and perspectives that really deserve a wider appreciation.
Here’s a link to the module:
Natasha Lee/ Ling566