Ups and downs in indigenous language news
Some exciting news for Australia’s Indigenous language community at the 32nd annual United Nations Media Peace Awards held last Friday (22nd October) in Melbourne. A series of articles published in the Sydney Morning Herald won the prize for Promotion of Aboriginal Reconciliation.
The awards which are held each year to honour media contributions to humanitarianism, also paid homage to reports on Kenyan refugees and Indian students in Australia. Former NSW Senator, Aden Ridgeway, inspired the prize winning Sydney Morning Herald articles, as did the endangered status of many indigenous languages in Australia. Interestingly, Mr Ridgeway gave the first ever parliamentary speech in an indigenous language (the Gumbaynggir language to be precise). Mr Ridgeway is keen to see Australia foster the inclusion of Indigenous languages in Australia’s national anthem, as New Zealand and South Africa do.Unfortunately, the news wasn’t so positive further south, as concerns for Te Reo Maori were also reported last week. Justice Joe Williams declared that the language is in “crisis” and in urgent need of resuscitation. As older generations pass away, younger Te Reo Maori speakers are not replacing them. The Waitangi Tribunal also reported that the proportion of Maori children in Maori language schools has halved since 1993. The report has come as a wake-up call to New Zealand, where Maori is co-official language with English.
http://www.unaavictoria.org.au; http://www.indigenous.gov.au; http://www.telegraph.co.uk