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After weeks of hot weather and blame-firing over failed native title compensation land deals, rape, gangs, children taken into state care etc., it was like a fine lemon gelato to come across a couple of good news stories on Australian Indigenous languages. New flavour-of-the-year language and tourism, and long-term favourite language reclamation.

An article in Kasama [1], ‘Two-way Learning’: Yolngu clan at Australia’s Top End shows the way has a story by Deborah Ruiz Wall on Indigenous tourism at Nyinyikay outstation in Arnhem Land. The writer obviously appreciated the change to learn something about Yolŋu language and society. For their part, the outstation family hosting the tour have dreams for their children, in particular of having a two-way education school on the outstation.

Aware of globalization and development outside Nyinyikay Outstation, the family wants the next generation to be able to choose and pick what is best for their community. But they do not want to lose their language and tradition in the process. They see the answer to this dilemma in 'two way learning' - a combined Australian/European and Yolngu approach to education.

A cute meta feature of the article is this:

"A Yolŋu font has been specifically created and we have used this font in the text of this article, with the exception of the headline where Yolŋu is written in its English equivalent ‘Yolŋu’. If you see a lot of these \^ and not these ŋä then please install Yolŋu font. You can download the Yolŋu font at this website http://learnline.cdu.edu.au/yolngustudies/resources.htm and install the font on your computer's hard disk.)"

One day, the mainstream media will do this...

And tonight (2nd February) on SBS News there was, at last, the promised story on the NgaawaGaray summer school in Gumbaynggirr and Gamilaraay run through the Koori Centre at the University of Sydney. It was done well; the journalist pronounced the names of the languages fluently, she talked about the method (Total Physical Response), about the need to have good reference materials for students (and showed one of the dictionaries), and interviewed some students who talked movingly about what reclaiming their ancestral languages meant to them.

[1] KASAMA Vol. 20 No. 4 / October-November-December 2006 / Solidarity Philippines Australia Network

Comments

And the transcript of the summer school program interview is available on the SBS Website,as
INDIGENOUS LANGUAGE REVIVAL UNDER WAY
460 words
2 February 2007
SBS 6.30pm TV World News Transcripts
English
© 2007 Special Broadcasting Service

Thank you for your kind words about the 'Two Way Learning' article in "Kasama". Deborah Ruiz Wall is a regular contributor to our newsletter and indigenous issues are a particular priority for publication. We are especially interested in Aboriginal and Filipino families of mixed descent.
Dee D. Hunt, "Kasama" editor.

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