The Ngaiyuriija Ngunawal Language Group and The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) are in partnership to deliver a cooperative research agreement to revitalise the Ngunawal language of the ACT and South East NSW.
The Ngaiyuriija Ngunawal Language Group, comprises a number of Ngunawal family groups and Ngunawal Aboriginal Corporations – Thunderstone Cultural and Land Management Services Aboriginal Corporation, Koomurri Ngunawal Aboriginal Corporation and Ngunawal Heritage Aboriginal Corporation – are working with AIATSIS to develop a language program for primary and secondary school students and teachers.
The Ngaiyuriija Ngunawal Language Group’s aim is to provide a fully functional language that could also be part of the ACT and South East NSW school curriculum.
The program will include an acknowledgement of country in the Ngunawal language, children’s stories, and games to educate the children through integral play.
AIATSIS Principal, Russell Taylor said it is a core part of our programs to support communities as they strengthen their connection to culture and their desire to teach their young and to share with others.
"AIATSIS holds significant collections of language records from all around Australia, and has linguists on staff to assist communities who want to revitalise their traditional languages,” Mr Taylor said.
Ngunawal traditional custodian, Tyrone Bell said language is vital to our identity.
“You can have the stories and knowledge passed down from the elders but without language your whole cultural identity is incomplete,” Mr Bell said.
Ngunawal traditional custodian, Dean Delponte said learning the revitalised Ngunawal language will offer a wonderful enriched opportunity for the Ngunawal and wider communities to have a greater understanding and appreciation of Ngunawal country and all it has to offer.
“We are excited to be working with AIATSIS to revive and learn our traditional language as well as teach it to others to ensure its survival,” Mr Delponte said.
Koomurri Ngunawal Aboriginal Corporation take the view that to “plant a seed before you leave ensures that those following behind will always have sustenance for their future times. For the Corporation, language represents the many seeds that have been planted before, as each generation nurtures and contributes to its meaning and substance.”