Language is Culture.
Language is central to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, demonstrating diversity in how it is expressed, learnt and practised across the Nation. With UNESCO declaring the next ten years as the Decade of Indigenous Languages, this year provides a significant platform to acknowledge and support the ongoing revitalisation and continuity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.
For many thousands of years, language has been an expression of the diverse cultures and practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and is central to the ways Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people think, behave and view the world.
So why focus on Language now, and how can we make a difference?
It is a critical time in our Nation’s history. Prior to colonisation, there were over 250 different languages spoken, with around 800 different dialects. Presently 90% of Aboriginal languages are considered endangered.
We are privileged to work with 15 communities and 17 language groups. Through learning both ways, we have created new initiatives in language revitalisation and the sharing of Aboriginal stories and perspectives.
The Decade of Indigenous Languages will provide a greater opportunity for us to continue raising awareness of Aboriginal languages. We will soon launch several new community-led initiatives that will return revenue to communities, providing resources for ongoing cultural continuity.
Community partnerships on Country are at the heart of our work. Our ultimate goal is to directly support communities in their aspirations and explore future possibilities for language and culture conservation. We aim to continue developing cultural resources that reclaim and interpret community partners’ shared knowledges and languages in innovative and engaging ways to strengthen language awareness.
If you haven’t already, check out our bilingual books in the ‘Stories from Country’ series in our publishing catalogue.