NPA Indigenous Languages Workshops

State Library partnered with Resource Network for Linguistic Diversity (RNLD), to host Indigenous Language Workshops in the Northern Peninsula Area communities of New Mapoon and Umagico.

The languages in the communities include languages from the Torres Strait Islands, Cape York and various Creoles and Aboriginal Englishes reflecting the original communities from which people were moved from.

Languages of Cape York, Alpher (1987).

New Mapoon was established in the early 1960’s when the people of Mapoon, near Weipa, were forcibly removed from their homes to allow bauxite mining in the area.

Umagico Aboriginal community was formed originally by George Williams, a stockman who worked for Frank Jardine and wanted to live apart from the Injinoo community. In 1963, the people from Lockhart River were forced from their traditional lands on Eastern Cape York and re-settled at Umagico.

The workshops offer participants an innovative training experience with RNLD’s Documenting and Revitalising Indigenous Languages (DRIL) Program. The program is a flexible non-accredited training program that supports the long-term maintenance of Australian Aboriginal languages with workshops tailored to meet the community needs.

Gwen Toby & Lydia Stratford

Leonora Adidi, Ebony Joachim & Des Crump

Trainers Ebony and Amy worked with ladies from different local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander language communities, some of whom are just starting out on their language journeys. It was a productive week and some of the activities included:

  • searching online databases for language information and resources;
  • looking at grammars and language resources for the first time and exploring how to use them to learn language;
  • creating lesson plans and designing a draft curriculum for teaching language at school; and
  • practising immersion language learning and teaching methods to pass on language.

We had a great time working with the community who are all at different stages in their language journeys and look forward to following their progress.

One of the highlights of the trip was a visit to the Seisia IKC where IKC Coordinator Mabalene was running after school, Kala Kawaw Ya language [KKY] learning with the children. KKY language words and phrases were displayed throughout the IKC with the children responding to questions in KKY.

Leonora Adidi & Ebony Joachim

We also had discussions with RIBS radio operator Amy around UNESCO’s 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages and how community can come together to support and celebrate languages next year.

NPA IL Workshop

Umagico IKC Coordinator Lorraine and Community Services Manager, Nandy were very supportive and met all our needs and requirements so a big thank you to both for their assistance with the workshops.

References and Further Reading

Bamaga State High School (1987) ‘North of the Jardine’ : a look at the five communities of the N.P.A. P 994.38 nor

Rose Warsow

Indigenous Languages, Project Officer