Noongar language key to unlock culture

Michael TraillNarrogin Observer
Isaac and Todd Riley, Ross Storey, and Johnny, Dwayne and Shane Riley.
Camera IconIsaac and Todd Riley, Ross Storey, and Johnny, Dwayne and Shane Riley.

Narrogin residents may soon be able to find more Noongar language around Narrogin’s townscape and places of cultural importance.

It is early days yet, but there are considerations for funding in the Shire of Narrogin’s 2019-20 budget to implement an Aboriginal Names and Places Project, which could include naming certain sites within the Shire’s boundaries.

A Noongar welcome to country acknowledgement and message are already in the works for the Shire’s new information bay on Williams-Kondinin Road and it will be replicated on the Shire of Narrogin’s website.

Kaata-Koorliny Employment and Enterprise Development Aboriginal Corporation’s Gloria Kickett said visible language around town would help local children engage with their culture, drawing on the success similar projects had had in the Canadian Aboriginal reserves system.

“It all starts with language,” she said. “While the kids are in care (of the Canadian Government) they started picking up their language, they loved learning it. They went home to their families, they started teaching their families, and their families started putting the bottles down and started listening.”

Ms Kickett said Canadian First Nations youth connecting to their culture through language had a positive flow-on effect throughout communities in the North American country

She said she hoped signs displaying Noongar language in prominent locations around Narrogin would have the same affect locally.

“Kids are like a sponge, they can pick it up,” she said.

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