A story by Rick Morton for The Australian
The community at La Perouse, with the help of the NSW government, has built a resource of words and phrases in the Dharawal language.
Community members have been trained in Certificate I and II courses and a K-6 syllabus is being developed.
Children are greeted with “Naggangbi” — “how are you?” — and farewelled with “Nandawabi” — “see you in the future” — each day.
“Sydney is in the Western world and for our community’s survival we have to engage,” Mr Ingrey said.
“But why not have both our worlds side-by-side?”
General manager of the Gujaga Children’s Service in La Perouse Shannon Williams said language loss fed into other social traumas; poor education, isolation, suicide.
In one Canadian study of indigenous people, researchers observed a direct link between speaking their native tongue and reduction in suicide rates among their youth.
In British Columbia, those who reported less than half of a cohort with conversational knowledge of their language had suicide rates six times higher than those where a majority had language skills.
Read the full article here.