Indigenous Education Strategy - Issue 17

Harley’s Passion for Language

Students in central Australia are learning to read and write two languages, revitalising the Arrernte language and taking pride in their Aboriginal culture.

The students said they were proud to be learning their own language in school.

“I like learning Arrernte because it’s my language,” said Harley Wallace, a student studying Arrernte at Centralian Senior College.

“My Nanna told me to always be proud of who I am and my culture. To be happy to have Arrernte in my blood,” he said.

Shaquiena George who is also studying Arrernte at Centralian Senior College said “my three grandmothers speak Arrernte so I want to do it too.”

“It’s my passion and I just want to learn it and read it around town, everywhere,” she said.

David Moore, Linguist Alyawarr & Arrernte at the Alice Springs Language Centre said there has been a lot of talk about language in the last 12 months.

“Everywhere we go, they (the elders) want to keep the language and culture strong. They want to hand on their culture and traditions to the kids,” he said.

“So we need to create a system that brings the elders and teachers back into the school. Give the older people who know the language honoured status.”

The Indigenous Languages and Cultures Curriculum is currently under development and provides a long term plan for Territory schools to help keep Indigenous languages Strong.

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Last updated: 19 December 2017