Representatives from First Languages Australia Paul Paton (Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages) and Daryn McKenny (Miromaa Aboriginal Language and Technology Centre) were in New York last week to take part in the United Nations 2016 expert group meeting on Indigenous Languages.

The meeting Indigenous Languages: preservation and revitalization (articles 13, 14 and 16 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples) was undertaken to build upon recommendations from the previous expert group meeting in 2008, focusing on the principles of cultural diversity and indigenous languages as a way to promote intercultural dialogue and affirm indigenous peoples identity. 

Both Paul and Daryn had the opportunity to speak at the meeting about the state of language revival in Australia and demonstrate projects and initiates which are making positive inroads into language revival and cultural strengthening. 

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To read more about the meeting click here

To find out more about the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues visit their website, facebook or twitter page

 

daryn and paul

"When we started to get our language back, we got our power back" - Daryn

Published in Blog

A set of six Gunnai/Kurnai story books originally published in 2008 have been redeveloped into digital resources and released as six brand new Aboriginal language apps featuring Gunnai/Kurnai language of the Gunnai/Kurnai peoples of Gippsland in east Victoria.

Launched on Monday 14th December 2015 at Dala Yooro Pre-School in Bairnsdale, the six interactive digital storybook apps feature traditional Gunnai/Kurnai Creation Stories including why Kowern the Echidna has spikes on his back and how Wurrin the Sun was made. These stories are supported by illustrations and narration from Gunnai/Kurnai community members and artists.

Interactive digital story books are a great resource for children of all ages to develop reading and comprehension skills and can be used as part of a lesson plan or reading strategy and to help children learn spelling and pronunciation.

The development of these digital resources will support language reclamation and revitalisation activities in Victorian schools and communities.

Read more about the project here

The Apps are available now for download at the App Store, for use on iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch.

Available on the App Store

Published in Blog

Last week the Shearwater Festival drew guests from across Victoria and the world to celebrate the migration of the short-tailed shearwater birds to Phillip Island. The aim of the festival is to develop partnerships, cross cultural understanding and environmental awareness about the short-tailed shearwaters, which are a significant part of local indigenous culture. The festival takes the opportunity to celebrate diversity and culture, featuring language as one of the main components.

Events at the festival included a lively street parade, performances, workshops and guided tours. VACL is proud to take part in and auspice the festival which has a strong focus on language where Victorian Aboriginal Elders and artists participated in telling stories, sharing poetry, playing music and exhibiting artwork. Many of the activities were in language including Aunty Caroline Briggs' Welcome To Country, songs by Marbee Williams in Boon Wurrung and Wiradjuri, Aunty Fay Stewart-Muir's poetry reading and Mick Harding's poetry and stories in Taungurung. Other presentations included Kutcha Edwards singing in Mutti Mutti and performances of rain songs by choir singers in a Northern Australian language.  

The cultural emersion also incorporated languages of the world with an interactive chanting activity, responding to each other with words of peace in a unifying performance with the audience. Indigenous leaders and performers from Africa and First Nations in Canada and the USA were also involved in the festival, bringing song, dance, music and language to the stage.

Check out photos from the festival in the image gallery below.

Read more about the project here.

Visit the festival website here.

Published in Blog
Friday, 30 October 2015 10:49

New Language Revival Factsheets

Introduced at the Puliima National Indigneous Language and Technology Forum 2015, the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages has produced this series of factsheets to support communities working to revive their languages. These factsheets reflect what we learned from the Meeting Point Project, which was run between 2008 and 2014. In that project, we focussed on the ways revival languages are being brought back into communities by Elders, language workers and language activists. All the fact sheets are about these newly living languages, brought from the past into the present and future. We are grateful to the people who have agreed to share examples of their languages with you in this way. We especially thank our case study language programs: Wiradjuri (Parkes program), Butchulla (Hervey Bay), Keerray Woorroong (Warrnambool), Wathaurong (Geelong program), Gumbaynggirr (Nambucca Heads) and Gunai/Kurnai (Gippsland).

There are four different types of factsheets. Each one focuses on just one topic for language revival.

Methods: How people do the work (includes workshops)

Practice: Ideas for using language (includes workshops)

Principles: What's it all for? (includes ideas for discussion)

Pathways: Language journeys (includes ideas for discussion)

To download the factsheets individually, or as a full set, visit our website here

Published in Blog
Friday, 23 October 2015 15:10

Meeting Point Fact Sheets

Language Revival Fact Sheets

The Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages has produced this series of factsheets to support communities working to revive their languages. These factsheets reflect what we learned from the Meeting Point Project, which was run between 2008 and 2014. In that project, we focussed on the ways revival languages are being brought back into communities by Elders, language workers and language activists. All the fact sheets are about these newly living languages, brought from the past into the present and future. We are grateful to the people who have agreed to share examples of their languages with you in this way. We especially thank our case study language programs: Wiradjuri (Parkes program), Butchulla (Hervey Bay), Keerray Woorroong (Warrnambool), Wathaurong (Geelong program), Gumbaynggirr (Nambucca Heads) and Gunai/Kurnai (Gippsland).

There are four different types of factsheets. Each one focuses on just one topic for language revival. 

Click on individual factsheets to download individual pdfs or to download the whole series click here.

Methods: How people do the work (includes workshops)

1. WORDS IN ENGLISH  2. MAKING A TRANSLATION  3. DICTIONARIES AND WORDLISTS  4. EXPLORING DEEPER MEANINGS IN WORDS

WordsInEnglish 1

    MakingATranslation 1    DictionariesAndWordlists 1    ExploringDeeperMeaningInWords 1

 

Practice: Ideas for using language (includes workshops)

1. EVERYDAY LANGUAGE (Written contexts)  2. SIGNS  3. SONGS  4. WELCOME TO COUNTRY

EverydayLanguage 1    Signs 1    Songs 1    WelcomeToCountry 1

 

Principles: What's it all for? (includes ideas for discussion)

1. LANGUAGE IS CULTURE  2. HEALING  3. OLD INTO NEW  4. 'GETTING IT RIGHT'  5. GRAMMAR PATHWAYS  6. USING LINGUISTICS

LanguageIsCulture 1    Healing 1    OldIntoNew 1    GettingItRight 1

GrammarPathways 1    UsingLinguistics 1

 

Pathways: Language journeys (includes ideas for discussion)

1. STAGES AND PROCESSES  2. LANGUAGE REVIVAL IS A JOURNEY

StagesAndProcesses 1    LanguageRevivalIsAJourney 1

 

To learn more about the Meeting Point Project click here

 

 

Published in Projects
Thursday, 24 September 2015 14:56

Robinvale P-12 College

Robinvale Language Program


Brendan Kennedy at Robinvale P12 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Childrens Day 040815 1The Robinvale Language Program 'Yakila Yarna Thalingi' (Learning to Speak Language) began at Robinvale P-12 College in July 2015, with Brendan Kennedy teaching local Aboriginal languages Tati Tati, Latji Latji, Wadi Wadi and Mutti Mutti to students from Prep to Grade 3.  

The College has chosen an innovative approach to their Languages Other Than English (LOTE) program, offering all Prep to Grade 2 students classes in four different language groups; Aboriginal Indigenous, European, Pacific Islands and Asian. Students are then given the option of choosing which one to specialise in from Grade 3 onwards.

As part of the Aboriginal Languages class students have been learning songs, stories, games, body parts, plant names and places, all of which are imbedded with local knowledge and culture. 

"I have a passion for my past, my peoples and my ancestral history. Language is imbedded within the landscape and it's not fair that our language doesn't recieve the respect and recognition it deserves. I've got a responsibility to make sure our kids and our grandkids have access to our language. All the answers we are looking for are in our language." - Brendan Kennedy

robinvale language session at mia mia

Brendan was born at Robinvale on Tati Tati Country and is a descendant of the Tati Tati, Wadi Wadi and Mutti Mutti tribal lands and language groups.

Brendan is also currently teaching language classes at Murray Valley Aboriginal Co-operative Early Child-Care Centre, Robinvale Pre-School and Mallee Family Care Playgroup.

To download a pdf version of Yakila Yarna Thalingi (Learning to Speak Language) click here

Published in Projects

Last month saw the first in a series of Regional Language Forums. VACL staff headed to Swan Hill for a day of presentations and discussion about language activity happening throughout Victorian communities and schools, training workshop opportunities and issues around language revitalisation.

Look out for an upcoming forum in your area soon!

Published in Blog
Tuesday, 27 May 2014 11:45

Book Launch!

Aboriginal Historical and Language Resources Launch

After several years of research, the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation of Languages (VACL) held a multi-book launch on the 10th of June to celebrate the release of three new publications. Each of these publications plays a role in celebrating VACL’s 20th year of language revival in Victoria.

The Journey Cycles of the Boonwurrung – 2nd Edition builds on the first edition written by Aunty Carolyn Briggs, and is a compilation of traditional Boonwurrung stories written with Boonwurrung Language. The book is significant in raising awareness of the connection to country, language and heritage for the people living on Boonwurrung land.

tyama-teeyt yookapa: Interviews from the Meeting Point Project is a collection of stories, reflections and hopes about Language revival in Australian Aboriginal communities extracted from a series of interviews carried out during 2009-10. It contains insights into every aspect of language revival from culture, relationships and identity, through grammar, sounds and spelling, to considerations of collaborative research and the meaning of authenticity.

The Journal of Assistant Protector William Thomas 1839-67 is to be released as a four-volume set.  These books contain extensive transcribed and annotated text, images of the original text, and a volume of the Kulin language drawn from Thomas’s journals. Thomas is one of the few Europeans who described the cultural life of Aboriginal Australians with a sense of empathy; as a result his journals are one of the most important primary sources in Australian history.

The release of these new publications is part of the continuing movement to retrieve, revive and strengthen Indigenous Languages for Aboriginal people in Australia and demonstrates VACL’s continued commitment to supporting communities in the revival of Indigenous Languages for Aboriginal people in Australia.

 

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Published in Blog
Tuesday, 15 April 2014 12:21

Learning to communicate with the past

 From an article featured in The Standard by Sean McComish about our own Joel Wright:

Joel Wright

Kirkstall resident Joel Wright is co-ordinator of the South West Aboriginal Language Program, which is helping to revive local indigenous languages through the region’s schools. 

 A REVIVAL is quietly taking place in classrooms across the south-west. 

Unknown to most outside the Aboriginal community, the region is home to at least 10 indigenous language groups, taking in Gadubanud in the Otways to Dauwurd Wurrung in the Glenelg region. 

Three weeks ago students at Brauer College finished a month-long pilot program studying local indigenous languages.

 Warrnambool College will launch a similar program in June. 

Pushed to the brink of extinction by colonisation, Aboriginal languages are making a strong comeback thanks to schools and a passionate campaigner. 

Joel Wright’s dining room table is covered with maps and phrasebooks. For the past 10 years he has worked to bring back languages like Dhauwurd Wurrung in the Glenelg region and Peek Woorroong in the Warrnambool region.

He works as the south-west co-ordinator for the Victorian Aboriginal Language Program — a Commonwealth-funded body.

“We’re only just scratching the surface with the program,” Mr Wright told The Standard. 

“Because Victoria is in a situation where all of the languages are revival languages. We’ve got four different categories of languages — living languages, endangered languages, revival languages and extinct languages.

“We’re in the third category so there’s a protocol that really needs to be achieved first and that is that the indigenous mob need to have the opportunity and support to be able to reclaim the language to revive it in the community.

“The last known fluent speakers of the language died approximately 110 years ago. And that’s pretty much the case with most of the 38 language groups right across Victoria.”

Mr Wright’s family came from Framlingham and Lake Condah where English was almost the only language spoken at home. Because of his pale skin, his mother — fearing her son would be taken by authorities under stolen generation-era policies — kept the family on the road. 

That travel first revealed to him the invaluable collection of indigenous languages spanning regions from Victoria to Western Australia. 

“It developed my ear and understanding at a very early age about how language sounds,” he said. 

“Language is a fantastic way of demonstrating how sophisticated Aboriginal ways of thinking and doing were and are.”

From his home in Kirkstall, Mr Wright is trying to revive millennia-old languages in local schools. 

In June students at Warrnambool College will be given the opportunity for the first time to learn local languages as part of a five-week pilot project. 

“We’ll be doing a revival and reclamation program that will be offered to the junior levels,” the college’s assistant principal Adam Matheson explained.

“If we don’t teach the students indigenous languages they will be lost. It’s been the biggest push from both colleges (Warrnambool and Brauer) as a joint program.” 

If the program goes well it will become a permanent part of the curriculum, alongside French and Japanese.

“We’d be looking to introduce local indigenous languages as a LOTE program in 2015,” Mr Matheson said. 

Heywood and District Secondary College has been one of a handful of schools in Victoria teaching language classes. Program co-ordinator Steph Tashkoff said it had been successful in years 7 and 8 for three years. 

“We feel very proud that we’re able to offer a language and culture program. They get a real sense of the country that they are on,” Ms Tashkoff said. 

The program has gone beyond language and students are immersed in the culture, visiting indigenous sites around the region. 

Meanwhile, OzChild has also been given funding to start language lessons with playgroups. 

However, Mr Wright said efforts to save languages would be held back unless the state government funded community programs. 

“If you look at community language schools, there’s 185 of them across Victoria that are funded through state government and not one of them is an Aboriginal language. They’re for every other language around the world. There really isn’t the support base there,” Mr Wright said. 

 

Published in Blog
Tuesday, 14 May 2013 19:41

Starting a Community Language Program

david group 2VACL Community Language Partnership Programs

There are many elements to starting a Language Program. We have written a guide for planning a successful program called Peetyawan Weeyn. We can visit your community to assist in the implementation and training of this guide.

We also have limited funds available to partner with communities to undertake a language project. Below are the guidelines and application form for working with us on a language project.

The current round of Community Language Partnership Program are open from 1st July 2016 to 30th June 2017

docxCommunity Language Partnership Program Guidelines

docxCommunity Language Partnership Application Form

Published in Languages
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