Keeping Pertame strong


Alice Springs based Shania Armstrong is playing a key role in keeping Pertame alive.

The local but endangered Southern Arrernte language is spoken by the family of the Centralian Senior College student.

Shania is keen to be more proficient in an Aboriginal language used by a small number of people.

She is working with Mparntwe elders, the Alice Springs Language Centre and the Bachelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education, to become a skilled practitioner of Pertame.

And the Year 12 student worked in a master-apprentice relationship in the Pertame Language Project — an initiative to retain and revive the language.

Centralian Senior College principal Tony Collins said Shania has “worked sensitivity with elders to develop many Pertame teaching tools”.

“With the elders she has created multimedia resources, such as quizzes and presentations, useful in teaching young people in holiday programs, and a Bradshaw Primary School enrichment program,” he said.

“This year she successfully led a collaborative project with Headspace to develop a series of interactive mental health posters in Arrernte.

“Shania is making an outstanding contribution to our local community in keeping Pertame strong.

“She inspires others to learn through her teaching to young people, and the development of engaging language resources.”

Mr Collins believes Shania’s role in the Pertame Language Project signposts a career path as a language educator in the community.

Shania Armstrong (far right) teaches Pertame.
Shania Armstrong (far right) teaches Pertame.

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