Forum Session 5: Revive and Survive: the revitalization of Australian Indigenous Languages

  • Sunday May 12, 2013
  • 11:00 am – 12:00 pm
  • Location: Cultural Arts Center
  • Presenter: Alana Garwood-Houng, Dr. Jaky Troy, and Stewart Sutherland

Language is as important to a person’s, group and nation’s identity as is any other factor. For without Language the nuances of culture cannot be conveyed in an appropriate way. The loss of Language also creates a disjunction between the individual, traditional culture and the culture of the language spoken. For the Stolen Generations not only were their families stolen from them but their culture and Language. Libraries can play a role in reclaiming culture and Language, the Library of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, AIATSIS, houses the Australian Indigenous Languages Collection, which is used by many of those trying to reclaim and revive their Language. In 2005 AIATSIS published the National Indigenous Languages Survey (NILS) Report 2005 that found that the situation of Australia’s Indigenous languages is grave and requires urgent action. Of the 145 indigenous languages still spoken in Australia, 110 are critically endangered. In 2011 AIATSIS conducted the second Australian National Indigenous Languages Survey (NILS2). This survey aimed to take a comprehensive snapshot of the state of Australia’s Indigenous languages, their number, status and vitality, and to gain some indication of their prospects.

 

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