The Palaszczuk Government recently launched its $200,000 Indigenous Languages Grants 2020 supporting initiatives to teach, learn and celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.
The joint project between the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships and the Department of Education will this year support up to 28 initiatives to promote, preserve and revitalise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages and dialects — which are among the world’s oldest surviving languages.
Minister for Fire and Emergency Services and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Craig Crawford encouraged Queenslanders to apply for a share in the dedicated languages grants.
“Grants of up to $25,000 will support local, regional and statewide initiatives which bring together schools, local groups and wider communities with language speakers, Elders and Traditional Owners to help languages live on,” Mr Crawford said.
“Queensland is home to the nation’s second largest population of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and our state is enriched by the languages, cultures and diversity of First Nations people.
“The Queensland Government is reframing the relationship with First Nations people by celebrating and acknowledging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages, cultures and knowledge as part of truth-telling, healing and reconciliation.
“Language is fundamental to identity and wellbeing, and encouraging all Queenslanders to respect, embrace and celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander language and culture is a positive step towards local thriving communities.
“Given this year’s International theme is focused on the resilience of Indigenous peoples, we understand how crucial the survival and maintenance of Indigenous languages is to building resilience of First Nations Queenslanders,” he said.
Minister for Education and Minister for Industrial Relations Grace Grace encouraged schools to apply for the grants.
“My department is proud to co-fund this important program,” Ms Grace said.
“Last year’s Language Grants Program funded some great initiatives across our schools, and I look forward to seeing even more schools throwing their hats into the ring this year.”
Mossman State School in Far North Queensland was among last year’s grant recipients and used funding to install signs in Kuku Yalanji language — a visible display of the school’s pride in language and culture.
The signs feature the beautiful artwork of Uncle Binna Swindley, representing the story of the local Kuku Yalanji people.
The school is guided by the Kuku Yalanji Language Advisory Group and all students learn language with positive flow-on effects across the school community including in student attendance, behaviour and achievements.
The school embraces a wide representation of cultures, languages and lifestyle among its student, parent and staff cohort with 50 per cent of students identifying as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.