Four talented musicians have come together for Singing from Country, a project that aims to create music that connects people to place. Neil Murray, Kavisha Mazzella, Carl Pannuzzo and Eva Popov are the songwriters that will participate in the program where they will learn about the role of the Dja Dja Wurrung language in connecting to place, people and seasons. VACL has been involved in the Singing from Country project through linking participants to local community to provide knowledge to songwriters and through giving cultural guidance. VACL’s Executive Officer Paul Paton spoke about the importance of this project that connects language and song, “Victoria’s Aboriginal Languages reflect a deep connection to the land, providing us wisdom about how to care for it.” VACL’s Community Linguist, Kris Eira and Dja Dja Wurrung woman Rebecca Philips facilitated workshops about aspects of knowledge and language.
This is the first stage of the project, which will eventually expand across Victoria. “Music is a universal language. It tells stories. It helps communicate love for land, deepen knowledge of country and strengthen community. People singing together about country is a powerful force for uniting and galvanizing action” said Terry White, the project’s creator. This October a community gathering will provide the opportunity to share the wisdom of key knowledge holders and hear from the community where all interested community members, both from within the region and outside, are welcome to attend. The gathering will include a showcase concert where the four songwriters will unveil their songs. Local choir-leaders will then arrange and rehearse the new songs with their singing groups, culminating in a performance of the songs by choirs in a celebratory event as part of Castlemaine State Festival in March 2017.
Singing from Country launches with a Workshop and Concert as part of the 2016 Maldon Folk Festival, October 29th 2016
Staff and volunteers at VACL have been quietly working hard in the library over recent months, updating records and documenting resources in preparation for the library's launch into the virtual world.
The VACL Library is a unique and highly significant resource, featuring the most complete holdings of materials on Victorian Aboriginal languages in existence, and is the only place prioritising Community as well as historical and linguistic materials.
The VACL Library collection is now being shared online via Victorian Collections, making these important resources available to a wider audience and improving accessibility to our collection.
This project was lead and conceived by Jenny Gibson, who worked in partnership with Belinda Ensor and Cameron Auty, Co-Managers of Victorian Collections and volunteers Lea Bröenner, Eartha Collins and Amelia Marra, a Cultural Heritage student on placement from Deakin University. The collection will now go on to be linked with Trove.
VACL would like to thank and congratulate everyone who worked on this project which will further assist communities, groups, organisations and individuals to connect with Victorian Aboriginal language resources.
"Every item on Victoria Collections has a story to tell. Until now these objects have been hidden away in collections stores, libraries and exhibition spaces. This is an incredibly comprehensive and useful resource from a remarkable organisation, so it's very exciting for the collection to be shared online" said Belinda Ensor, Victorian Collections Co-Manager.
VACL's online collection can be found here
To learn more about VACL's library click here
VACL was in Lakes Entrance on the weekend to support the first ever Ngarigo Monero Language Workshop with the Ninde Ngujarn Ngarigo Monero Aboriginal Corporation.
There were 16 participants who came from as far as Melbourne, Sydney and the south coast of New South Wales to attend the workshop.
The workshop was facilitated by Doris Paton under the guidance of Aunty Rachel Mullett, a Ngarigo Monero Elder who is still very strong in her language. The group learnt words and pronounciation that they were able to use on a daily basis, focusing on people, food and animals. The group are looking forward to having more workshops to continue practising their language skills and work towards creating learning resources in the future.
To learn more about Ngingal Training Workshops offered by VACL click here
Scroll down to see more images from the workhsop.
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
Practice: Ideas for using language (includes workshops)
1. EVERYDAY LANGUAGE (Written contexts) 2. SIGNS 3. SONGS 4. WELCOME TO COUNTRY
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
Pathways: Language journeys (includes ideas for discussion)
1. STAGES AND PROCESSES 2. LANGUAGE REVIVAL IS A JOURNEY
To learn more about the Meeting Point Project click here
The Puliima National Indigenous Language and Technology Forum took place in Melbourne this month. The event attracted over 230 people from nations across Australia as well as international guests. Energy and enthusiasm filed the William Angliss Institute as participants exchanged ideas and shared passion for language and culture.
In collaboration with KIWA, VACL hosted a KIWA SLAM workshop in the two days leading up to the conference, where a language app was produced by participants from across Australia in collaboration with the facilitators. The app was produced in six languages; Bundjalung, Dharug, Ngarrindjeri, Wonnarua, Gathang and English, and will be released on the app store soon. Other workshops and practical demonstrations explored how to create iBooks, dictionaries, recordings and teaching resources in language.
On the Wednesday and Thursday attendees were spoilt for choice with three streams of presentations that focused on community, education and technology. More than 30 presentations were offered detailing the diverse projects communities and organisations are working on with the aim of keeping language alive.
VACL participated in presentations on Learning from Experience with Vicki Couzens, Kris Eira and Tonya Stebbins from the Meeting Point Research Team based at VACL. The Ankety Map - Review of Digital Tools for Language Work presentation was made by Paul Paton from First Languages Australia and the waqdamba-nganjin wurrung presentation was made by Emma Hutchinson, Paul Paton, Mandy Nicholson and Joel Wright from VACL.
Highlights included international guests from the Santa Fe Indian School who spoke about language revival in New Mexico and presentations by the Youth Champions; nine young people who each spoke about language projects they are working on.
On the Wednesday evening of the event the famous Australia's Got Language was held with 12 acts taking to the stage. The show included outstanding performances of song, dance, poetry and comedy.
The summit enables discussions around projects, products and equipment to do with language and technology both nationally and internationally. Participants networked and collaborated on important issues at the forefront of the field. Puliima provides a stage to share successes and challenges while being reminded of the strength contained within the bigger movement dedicated to preserving and celebrating language. The word 'puliima' means 'making voice' in Awabakal language from Newcastle and Lake Macquarie where the Puliima conference started in 2007.
To download factsheets from the Meeting Point Project click here
To download the FREE app Walking on Country developed in the KIWA SLAM workshop visit the VACL App Store here
Don't have access to an iPad or iPhone? See videos of the app Walking on Country in each language at VACL's vimeo site here
Scroll down to see video and image gallery
The Digital Children's Book Fair is an international event in Japan celebrating the best digital children's books from around the world. Authors, illustrators, app developers and distributors were brought together at the end of August to select and award stories targeted at children made as ebooks, apps and other formats. The international event is the first of its kind focused on digital publishing for children.
The Wurundjeri Creation Story called Dulaiwurrung Mungka-nj-bulanj (How the Platypus was Made) received an award for excellence in the Digital Children's Book Fair. Congratulations to Thornbury Primary School and Kiwa Digital who worked in collaboration with VACL on this project.
In April 2015 VACL launched three interactive digital storybooks featuring Creation Stories of the Wurundjeri People in both Woiwurrung and English; Balayang Wurrgarrabil-ut (Why Bats are Black), Gurrborra Nguba-nj Ngabun Baanj (Why the Koala Doesn't Drink Water) and Dulaiwurrung Mungka-nj-bulanj (how the Platypus Was Made).
To download the story in the app store by click here
To learn more about this project click here
To read more about the Digital Children's Book Fair click here
Last week on Wednesday September 2nd, Indigenous Literacy Day, Fitzroy Library visitors were treated to an Aboriginal Language Awareness Workshop presented by Wurundjeri woman and VACL Project Officer Mandy Nicholson. On a wet cold evening, more than 40 attendees enjoyed over an hour of learning more about Aboriginal Language in Victoria.
Mandy spoke about her own language journey, about links to culture and language, current language renewal projects and the state of language revival in Victoria, activities relevant to language training, the success of the Woi wurrung Language Program at Thornbury Primary School and the importance of multi-lingual education. The audience was then treated to a Woi wurrung language activity called 'aliens', followed by an extensive Q & A.
"Language was forcibly stopped and lucky we've got enough records that we can bring back our languages". - Mandy Nicholson
To read more about the Language Awareness Workshops offered by VACL click here
You can hear the full audio of the workshop here
Thornbury Primary School students make giant leaps for digital language reclamation in Victoria! On Monday the 20th of April VACL launched three interactive digital storybooks at Thornbury Primary School, featuring Creation Stories of the Wurundjeri People in both Woi wurrung and English.
The release of the Apps marks Thornbury Primary School’s fourth year of commitment to teaching and learning Woi wurrung, with the support of key Wurundjeri Elders.
As part of the project 15 Indigenous students from Thornbury Primary School were selected to create illustrations and record narratives for the digital storybooks. The student’s creative use of language, art and technology has enabled the telling of Balayang Wurrgarrabil-ut (Why Bats are Black), Dulaiwurrung Mungka-nj-bulanj (How the Platypus Was Made) and Gurrborra Nguba-nj Ngabun Baanj (Why the Koala doesn’t Drink Water) to a global audience.
VACL, VAEAI and Thornbury Primary School celebrated the launch of the Apps with a special assembly at Thornbury Primary School. The assembly was attended by all students, interested parents and special guests including VACL Board Members Vince Kirby, Uncle Sandy Atkinson and Brendan Kennedy; VACL staff Paul Paton (Executive Officer), Mandy Nicholson (Project Officer & Woi wurrung Language Worker), Jenny Gibson (Administrative Officer) and Emma Hutchinson (Digital Projects Officer); Aunty Geraldine Atkinson (President VAEAI); Uncle Lionel Bamblett (General Manager VAEAI); Vaso Elefsiniotis (Policy & Research Officer VAEAI); Uncle Phil Cooper (Koorie/Woi wurrung Educator Thornbury Primary School); Julie Reid (Languages Program Manager VCAA); Maree Dellora (Languages Curriculum Manager VCAA) and Karen Mazurek (Principal Thornbury Primary School).
The development of these digital resources will support language reclamation and revitalisation activities in Victorian schools and communities. VACL would like to thank everyone who attended the launch and offer a special congratulations to all the students involved in creating these groundbreaking new resources.
The Apps are available now for FREE download at the App Store, for use on iPad (coming to iPhone soon).
For more information about the Schools Digital Resource Project click here
VACL has collaborated with Brendan Kennedy from the Tati Tati Aboriginal Corporation in Robinvale to publish his songs and stories translated into traditional Tati Tati, Mutti Mutti and Wadi Wadi languages of North Western Victoria.
Brendan has written dozens of songs and stories, from which nine were chosen to be included in this book, sharing local stories and connecting to country.
"I was born on the flood grounds of the Murray River on my Ancestral lands in Tati Tati Country. I dedicate this book of language songs and stories to my mother's people, River people and Mallee people because these songs and stories are about their land, water and animals." - Brendan Kennedy
Please contact VACL for more information about this publication.
To see Brendan reading one of the stories from this book, check out the video link below.
To learn more about Brendan, you can view his profile on our board members page here.