[From Alex Kelly, Ngapartji Ngapartji and BIGhART]
Dear friends and supporters,
After 5 years working on Ngapartji Ngapartji, building the language website [and see blogpost] and touring the show, we have the opportunity to engage with the people who can help move the issue of Indigenous languages forward in leaps and bounds. Currently, without any supportive Indigenous languages policy at a federal level we are left with a culture of fragmented and unspoken policy that prioritises English at the expense of Indigenous languages.
There is a long history of campaigning and lobbying for Indigenous languages in Australia, with some successes, and periods of regression. Hopefully Australia is emerging from a particularly unsupportive period in the last 15 - 20 years. At the end of June we will make our contribution to that process by going to Canberra to talk to the Ministers for Indigenous Affairs, Education and the Arts to talk about the need for a long term whole-of-Government strategy on Indigenous languages and a National Indigenous Languages Policy.
We would love to be able to present each of the Ministers with a pile of letters from individuals and organisations about why it is so important, and why the Australian government needs to provide national leadership on indigenous languages - NOW OR NEVER.
Please take the time to write a letter - handwritten or typed, with or without letter-head - and send it to us by the 10th of June. You can email them to alexATngapartji.org, or post them to Ngapartji Ngapartji, P0 Box 2765, Alice Springs NT 0871.
You could include references to the importance of Indigenous languages
- to a sense of identity, belonging and self
- as a key to unlocking education participation
- to improvements in mental health
- to improvements in literacy and numeracy
- being taught alongside English and not subordinate to it
- and being taken out of the 'too hard' basket before it is too late
- or any other issue that you think is relevant
It's going to make a big difference too, if we can demonstrate to them the reach and difference that this one area of policy could make. We look forward to being able to place your letter directly in the hand of the Minister who can make a difference.
Creative Producer, Ngapartji Ngapartji