Australia: Calls for indigenous languages policy supported by locals

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Wed Oct 1 15:15:23 UTC 2008

Calls for indigenous languages policy supported by locals

1/10/2008 1:22:00 PM
Calls to introduce a national indigenous languages policy were
welcomed by Port Augusta indigenous suicide prevention project officer
Aaron Stuart. Mr Stuart believed the policy may bridge the gap between
cultures. Indigenous language program and performance group Ngapartji
Ngapartji urged the Federal Government to introduce a policy where it
would be compulsory to learn an indigenous language at school.  The
group recommended the establishment of a national council on
indigenous languages and a national indigenous languages centre to
advise government on policy direction as well as the development of
statewide language policies and indigenous language curriculum in

Mr Stuart said the initiative would be great for non-indigenous as
well as indigenous children. "I believe it would give a greater
understanding between the two cultures and give communication between
one to another," he said.  "I firmly believe that as well as bridging
the gap, this should be looked at as a good thing academically.
"Whether it is French or an Aboriginal language, children need to be
given credit for learning another language, but as we have indigenous
and non-indigenous people living in Australia we should learn both of
our languages at school."

Ngapartji Ngapartji creative producer Alex Kelly said new avenues had
to be explored. "Despite the millions of dollars being spent it is
clear that the existing policies are not overcoming indigenous
disadvantage at an acceptable rate," Mr Kelly said.  "And despite
efforts from the Federal Government there is currently no national
policy on indigenous languages, no consistent approach to funding
allocations and research, or national body enabled to advise on policy
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