Language is a timeless bond that links a people with their history, their future, their land, their culture and their law.
Happy NAIDOC – National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee – Week!
NAIDOC Week has a long and proud history that can be “traced to the emergence of Aboriginal groups in the 1920s which sought to increase awareness in the wider community of the status and treatment of Indigenous Australians” (http://www.naidoc.org.au/).
It is a time to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, culture and achievements and also recognise the contributions that Indigenous Australians make to our country and our society.
Australia has an incredible language diversity and history. The languages of our land have been sharing its knowledge, stories and songlines for millennia – since well before English was spoken anywhere in the world.
While many Australians speak only one language – English – many Aboriginal people are multilingual – fluent in two or three Aboriginal languages with English being their third or fourth language.
But for the stolen generations, the ancient languages and knowledge that were their birthright were also stolen.
And while nearly all Aboriginal people will be able to speak English, very few whitefellas know many words in Aboriginal languages.
The NAIDOC website features compelling insights about the loss of half of Australia’s estimated 250 Indigenous languages since the time of European arrival, and shares how “languages are the breath of life for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples”.
Language is a core component of CASSE’s Men’s Tjilirra Movement and Breakthrough Violence Programs. We are proud to share videos from the Men’s Tjilirra Movement that feature local languages:
Aboriginal languages not only matter, they should be celebrated and embraced by every Australian!