Category Archives: Indigenous youth

Gunggari Language, Mitchell QLD

In 2014 I had the opportunity to work in Mitchell, a small town in Western Queensland. I was the principal of a small Catholic school. I worked with a number of teachers, students, support staff, parents, community members and parish … Continue reading

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Jeannie Adams talks about Indigenous literacy

Jeannie Adams of Black Ink Press discusses some reasons behind low rates of Indigenous childhood literacy in this radio interview broadcast on Radio National. Included in the  sometimes complex reasons she gives are the language books are written in, namely … Continue reading

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Reviving Wiradjuri in schools, towns and wider communities.

ABC Open Albury/Wodonga has recently put up an excellent story and short video about the revival and growth of Wiradjuri language in the towns of Forbes and Parkes in N.S.W. Wiradjuri is being taught in primary schools to 1/10th of … Continue reading

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Message Stick

This 95 year old Aboriginal elder is the matriarch of various tribes of the Yan-nhangu people on Murrunga Island, in the Crocodile Islands of north Arnhem Land.  She was announced as the Senior Australian of the Year in 2012. She is heavily involved in the teaching of the traditions and language of this culture as the only remaining one with the knowledge to do so.  This interesting program talks about the ranger program being operated in the area to teach young people the traditional ways and the language, under the guidance of Baymarrwangga.  

This message stick program screened on May 12 2012.   


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Native Girl Punished For Speaking her Language

In upper Wisconsin, Miranda Washinawatok spoke and translated three short sentences of the Menominee language in class for her fellow students, and found herself reprimanded by her teacher and benched during that afternoon’s basketball game.

People disgusted by racism and intolerance for other cultures are shocked, angry and incredulous that these behaviours and attitudes are still prevalent today. But reading through the whole article gives rise to many unanswered questions. The Toronto Star could be accused, perhaps, of sensationalizing a situation they knew would be incendiary without providing enough contextual detail concerning the recent histories and the When, Where, Why’s of all the people involved. 

While a Canadian newspaper has chosen to highlite this incident that took place in Wisconsin, U.S.A, please note that Canada’s own racist and inhumane treatment of its First Peoples is still a cause for national shame, both historic and present day.

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University of Queensland focuses on Language maintenance and documentation.

The University of Queensland has geared up its work to record and maintain Aboriginal languages. Current projects include research on intergenerational language transmission and documenting traditional performing arts. You can read more about the projects here. -Annie

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Languages key to closing the gap.

An article that came up in the 9 network news has the Commonwealth Ombudsman again stressing the importance of language maintenance and appropriate interpreting services. You can read the article here. The Ombudsman argues that survival of Indigenous languages and … Continue reading

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Tasaku Tsunoda and Worrongo revival.

Some interesting news here and here about Japanese linguist Tasako Tsunoda who worked on Palm Island documenting Worrongo in the early 1970s. Tasako has recently bought his original documentation with him to return to the community on Palm Island. With help … Continue reading

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Enduring Voices project and hip hop in Huilliche

The Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages in Oregon, USA has set up a youtube channel  in co-operation with The National Geographic’s Enduring Voices project.  You can find the youtube channel here. There is not really much info about the Australian language … Continue reading

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Identity dies when tongues are silenced

This article that appeared in The Age in early April, entitled ‘Identity dies when tongues are silenced’ discusses the current language situation in Australia with linguist Dr Rachel Nordlinger. Rachel is a senior lecturer at the University of Melbourne and … Continue reading

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