Kanyilangku wangka nantirrpa - Keep your language strong

Clifton explaining the importance of language

The Goldfields Aboriginal Language Centre in Kalgoorlie hosted the 2016 WANALA (Western Australia and Northern Aboriginal Language Alliance) Aboriginal Languages Conference on the 16 – 18 June. ‘Building Resilience: Identity, intellect and the role of languages’ was the theme of this year’s conference. The theme related to the critical role language plays in building personal and community resilience.
“Language is an expression of identity and a carrier of identity. Language is a means to express intellect and a way to develop intellect. By ensuring languages are kept strong, healthy and vibrant, Aboriginal people build resilience. Conversely, resilient communities keep language strong, healthy and vibrant.”
Desmond Taylor, Clifton Girgirba, Janelle Booth, Joshua Booth, Gavin Attwood, Garry Earl Spurr and Matthew Paterson from KJ attended the conference.  The conference provided Martu an opportunity to listen how other groups are preserving their languages as well as to share their own experiences of keeping Martu language alive and strong.
The group met with other mobs to talk about how best to embed language into everyday activities like ranger work and in the community schools. Martu have very strong language and want to look after it so it survives for many more generations.  Despite the freezing cold weather, the group found the conference a very valuable experience, taking away a lot of information and ideas to share with their communities back home.