The 2016 WANALA Aboriginal Languages Conference was hosted by the Goldfields Aboriginal Language Centre in Kalgoorlie, WA on the 16 – 18 June. This year’s conference was entitled ‘Building Resilience: Identity, intellect and the role of languages.’ The theme of the conference 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.” http://wangka.com.au/index.php/conference
Desmond Taylor, Clifton Girgirba, Janelle Booth, Josuah 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 share their own experiences of keeping Martu language alive and strong.
The group also meet with other mobs to talk about how best to embed language into everyday activities like ranger work and within the community schools. Martu have a very strong language base and want to look after it so it survives for many more generations.
The group found the conference a very valuable experience taking away a lot of information and ideas to share with their communities back home.