TIME TO TALK: The Gunggari Dictionary and Language Resources project will continue teaching the kids of Mitchell.
TIME TO TALK: The Gunggari Dictionary and Language Resources project will continue teaching the kids of Mitchell. Derek Barry

Southwest's indigenous languages are being revived

INDIGENOUS languages spoken in the southwest for thousands of years are being revived in local communities, with three language preservation projects set to be rolled out across the region in the coming months.

The State Government has funded 31 local language initiatives, including the Gunggari Dictionary, an initiative spurred on by the elders of Mitchell.

"Supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to preserve, speak and engage in society through their language of choice is a critical part of providing equal access to opportunities, inclusion and supporting cultural diversity in Queensland,” Deputy Premier and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Jackie Trad said.

"It's also vital to preserving Queensland's history; there were once more than 100 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages in Queensland and today less than 20 are still used as a first language.”

Most of the initiatives are aimed at young people, and have elders teaching language to children from kindergarten onwards.

"Ensuring children learn Indigenous languages is an integral part of preservation - our younger generations are the pioneers of tomorrow who will be responsible for carrying traditional languages into the future,” Education Minister Grace Grace said.

"It is wonderful to see so many elders and traditional- owner groups working with schools and kindergartens to share knowledge of their traditional languages to younger generations.

"Successful initiatives include the creation of new apps and dictionaries, recording oral language, and traditional language programs in schools.”

The groups and projects receiving grants in southwest Queensland are:

Gunggari Native Title Aboriginal Corporation - Gunggari Dictionary and Language Resources.

The Empire Theatre Projects - South West Queensland Indigenous Cultural Languages.

The Trustee for the Hymba Yumba Community - Yuggera Indigenous Language Handbook.


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