International Year of Indigenous Languages − Top Tips from First 5 Forever Webinar

2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages logo

Props and tools used to deliver early literacy programs

Did you tune into the recent First 5 Forever Webinar: International Year of Indigenous Languages (IYIL)? Staff from State Library of Queensland (State Library) and Mackay Regional Council shared their ideas and tips for authentically exploring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages within early literacy planning and programming in libraries.

All webinars are recorded, click here to view the one hour webinar. There were some technical issues with sound during this webinar so it is recommended to wear headphones when listening to optimise the sound clarity.

“Languages play a crucial role in the daily lives of people, not only as a tool for communication, education, social integration and development, but also as repository for each person’s unique identity, cultural history, traditions and memory.” (UNESCO: 2018) Retrieved from 18/02/19

On a deeply local level, Public Library and Indigenous Knowledge Centre (IKC) staff, through our work with children and families in the early literacy space can work towards:

  1. Increasing understanding and reconciliation
  2. Creating favourable conditions for knowledge sharing around Indigenous Languages
  3. Authentically integrating local languages from your region into library settings
  4. Empowering both staff and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to use Indigenous languages
  5. Growing and developing new ways of embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages and perspectives into library program

Des Crump, Coordinator of Indigenous Languages at State Library provided an overview of State Library’s engagement with IYIL 2019 including The Very Hungry Caterpillar Translation project, exhibitions and workshops.  He also gave a number of suggestions on how public library and IKC staff can be involved.

Des’ top tips from the webinar:

  1. Connect with community – find the local language group for your area. Use the AUSTLANG site to identify language groups. Contact your closest Aboriginal Language Centre to ask about local language speakers and protocols
  2. Support local language speakers – record and document language, stories, songs and oral histories.
  3. Have a go – try out the word of the week, create word lists in local language to use during your sessions, learn and use greeting and farewells in the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander language(s), include an Acknowledgement of Country at the start of your early literacy sessions.

You can access the State Library’s Indigenous Language resources, including word lists, here

Find out more information about The International Year of Indigenous Languages 2019 here

 Carly St Clair and Norell Binsiar from Mackay Regional Council discussed their involvement with Paint the Town REaD and the development of community driven books that included local language.

Norell’s top tips for bringing local language to your library:

  1. Be patient – it takes time, effort and patience to establish, maintain and benefit from relationships with local language speakers.
  2. There will be challenges – try not to be disheartened by challenges to the process. Working with new groups will take time and effort from everyone involved, to build trust, build capacity and build language resources.
  3. Be culturally considerate – conversations either via the phone or face to face are preferable to emails, ask what local language custodians want out of the process instead of imposing your ideas, and work with community timelines rather than yours.

You will find copies of resources relating to this webinar in the Dropbox

To hear the recording and access the resources from the International Year of Indigenous Languages First 5 Forever webinar, visit the First 5 Forever Dropbox. All past webinars on a range of topics are also available for you to share or re-visit.