[RNLD] Launch of the Gathang FirstVoices website
MRALC at WESTNET.COM.AU
Thu Dec 6 02:50:56 UTC 2012
Gathang Language Goes Live Online!
On Wednesday, December 12, 2012, Gathang community members will gather to
celebrate the launch of a new web portal dedicated to the revitalization of
their Indigenous language. Media are invited to attend the event, which
takes place at 2 p.m. in Room AG 03 in the General Education building at
Taree TAFE, Montgomery Crescent.
The first of its kind in Australia, the Gathang portal includes a dictionary
archive, images and audio, allowing learners to go online and listen to
their language anywhere, anytime! Additional pictures and audio will be
uploaded in the coming months, and in time language games and activities
will be added. Please visit www.firstvoices.com/en/Gathang to see what has
Made up of the Birrbay, Warrimay and Guringay peoples, Gathang speakers
cover a large part of coastal New South Wales from Port Stephens to Port
Macquarie. ³We have a limited number of fluent speakers,² says Gathang
language administrator and community member Jeremy Saunders. ³Having the
portal will engage young people in language learning, as well as give those
living away from home the chance to enhance their language knowledge.²
The portal is the result of a collaborative effort between two Indigenous
organisations from opposite sides of the Pacific Ocean:
· FirstVoices, a program of the First Peoples¹ Cultural Council
(FPCC) is based in British Columbia, Canada. The FirstVoices suite of
web-based tools and services support Aboriginal people engaged in language
archiving, teaching and revitalization. Launched in 2003, FirstVoices has
worked with over 60 languages from Canada and the U.S.A.
· Muurrbay is a Regional Aboriginal Language Centre that supports
Aboriginal people on the east coast of Australia to revive their language
and culture. Based on Gumbaynggirr country, Muurrbay initially focussed on
Gumbaynggirr language reclamation. Through their regional wing, Many Rivers
Aboriginal Language Centre, established in 2004, they support another six
languages, including Gathang by documenting languages, publishing language
resources and developing courses for adults.
FirstVoices co-visionary and manager Peter Brand first met Anna Ash,
regional co-ordinator with Muurrbay, at Puliima, a national Aboriginal
languages conference held in Brisbane in 2010. Following much discussion and
community consultation, FirstVoices and Muurrbay agreed to run a pilot
project, the first of its kind in Australia, whereby the Gathang language
database that was the basis of the published dictionary would be uploaded to
the FirstVoices web hub. A Gumbaynggirr project will follow in 2013.
Peter, an Australian expat, has traveled from his home in Canada to attend
the community's official launch of the new website. ³I'm extremely excited
to see Muurrbay break ground in this area. It's daunting for Aboriginal
communities to put their languages on the web, but in our experience, making
use of the latest technologies can greatly support the language work that
goes on within the communities, and the fear of appropriation is not
warranted.² Peter will be visiting several locations in Australia in
December and January to encourage and assist other communities to
participate in FirstVoices.
³Muurrbay has published several dictionary-grammars, which is an important
first step, but people say that they want to hear their language,² says Anna
Ash. ³This online archive will make all the difference to revitalizing the
language. The hard work and dedication of the Gathang language recorders has
made this a reality.² Anna is referring to Jeremy Saunders and language
recorders Mandy Davis, Marcus Rowsell and Jim and Tony Ridgeway, who were
trained by FirstVoices in December last year and have been adding audio and
visual resources all year.
Muurrbay gratefully acknowledges funding from the Australian Government¹s
Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport via its
Indigenous Languages Support (ILS) program.
For more information or to arrange interviews please contact:
Anna Ash Muurrbay Regional Coordinator Tel: 02 6568 5695 or 0404 456 992
Email: MRALC at westnet.com.au <mailto:MRALC at westnet.com.au> Peter Brand
FirstVoices Coordinator Tel: (001117250) 652-5952 ext. 204 Email:
peter at firstvoices.com
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