Language & Culture Nests
"Indigenous Peoples have the right to revitalise, use, develop and transmit to future generations their histories, languages, oral traditions, philosophies, writing systems and literatures, and to designate and retain their own names for communities, place and persons." United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Article 13), 13 September 2007
Students at the 15 Connected Communities schools will participate in the revitalisation and maintenance of Aboriginal languages with the establishment of Aboriginal Language and Culture Nests across NSW.
An Aboriginal Language and Culture Nest is a network of communities bound together by their connection through an Aboriginal language. The nests will provide communities with opportunities to revitalise, reclaim and maintain their traditional languages and will involve the participation of communities linking with schools, TAFE NSW, universities and other community language programs or groups.
Each nest will include a keeping place where language resources and materials will be accessible through community consultation.
The North West Wiradjuri Language and Culture Nest was launched in October 2013 in Dubbo.
The North West Wiradjuri Language and Culture Nest is a collaboration between the Aboriginal communities of Dubbo, Narromine, Wellington, Gilgandra, Trangie, Peak Hill and Mudgee.
The Gumbaynggirr nest was launched in Coffs Harbour on 19 February and the Bundjalung nest in Lismore on 20 February. The Gamilaraay/Yuwaalaraay nest, based in Lightning Ridge and including the communities of Walgett and Collarenebri, is currently being finalised.
The Paarkintji nest will be launched on 12 March after consultation with Aboriginal communities in Wilcannia, Menindee, Broken Hill and Coomealla. The nest will be housed at Wilcannia Central School, one of the Connected Communities' schools.
All schools in these communities will be offered the opportunity to participate in the language program. Nest coordinator roles will be advertised soon, with these teachers tasked to work with communities, schools and TAFE to develop resources and support language tutors and teachers.
TAFE NSW Western Institute will play a key role in training Aboriginal community members as language tutors and teachers through accredited courses from Certificate I to IV in Aboriginal languages. Charles Sturt University offers a diploma in the Wiradjuri language and the University of Sydney has a Masters' degree in Indigenous Languages Education.
The nests are part of the NSW Government's Plan for Aboriginal Affairs, OCHRE –opportunity, choice, healing, responsibility, empowerment to address the loss of Aboriginal languages and recognise the importance of language to identity, culture and the future health and wellbeing of Aboriginal people in NSW.
The Department of Education and Communities is working with the nests, schools, TAFE and universities to establish a continuous pathway for language learning.