NAIDOC Week runs from the 2-9 July and celebrates the rich history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia. This year’s theme is ‘Our Languages Matter’ and hopes to emphasise the vital role Indigenous language plays in the cultural identity, spirituality for Indigenous Australians and in linking them to their land and water.
Today only about 120 languages from over 250 are still spoken and many are at risk of being lost. Each unique language carries with it stories, rites and knowledge so it is important they each one is preserved and maintained. Ms Anne Martin, National NAIDOC Committee Co-Chair has said,
“Each language is associated with an area of land and has a deep spiritual significance and it is through their own languages, that Indigenous nations maintain their connection with their ancestors, land and law.”
This NAIDOC Week why not learn about the languages that shaped Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Here are some of the resources available at QUT Library that can get you started on your language journey.
- Introductory dictionary of Western Arrernte – The Western Arrernte is the language of the native people of the area by that name in Central Australia. This dictionary provides English equivalents, as well as occasional short definitions, drawings, and colloquial usage and an English- Western Arrernte word- finder.
- Thanakupi’s guide to language and culture : a Thaynakwith dictionary – Internationally renwoned Weipa elder, Thancoupie uses the language of her art to convey the legends of her people – the Thaynakwith. This book combines her art with a Thaynakwith language dictionary, cultural guide and stunning photographs, bringing alive her family customs.
- Kaurna alphabet book : with an introduction to the Kaurna language – This is alphabet book provides an introduction to the Kaurna language – a language taught at the Kaurna Plains School in South Australia