Learning Indigenous Language is one of the keys to self-determination

Reclaiming and cultivating Indigenous language has to be one of the fundamental principles of self-determination. Language is one of those forces that shapes our understanding of the world, and in turn helps to shape the way we see the world. Language is much more than just “what’s the language word for x?”. While there is a recognition of the importance of Indigenous languages, the reality however, is that for many Aboriginal languages, we may have only ever have snippets that can be “retrieved”. Even in communities where Indigenous languages are more common, creating the tools needed to make sure they “stay alive” for generations, takes significant commitment.

Bringing Indigenous language into children’s lives means using it in classrooms, homes and on our streets. This includes “traditional” language as well as Aboriginal English and Creole. It’s not an easy task though, as resources are needed to research languages, training language teachers, finding space in the curriculum. It takes incredible commitment. But it’s worth doing.

Here is a short video that came across the streams this week that I thought I’d share. It’s from Moree East Public School where students are learning to speak their local language. This video shows students learning to count to 10 in Gomeroi.

Count to 10 in Gomeroi from BE Films on Vimeo.

While possibly one of the cutest videos I’ve seen, this is also a fantastic learning resource. The challenge for the rest of us, could we do the same? If we can’t do this, what can we do?