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Delegates bring diverse talents to national panel | Language, Fatsil, National, Schools, Chairperson, Community, Education, Australia | FATSILC, Fed. Aboriginal Torres Strait Island Languages and Cult
Delegates bring diverse talents to national panel PDF Print E-mail

STATE Delegates were appointed and elections held for FATSIL Executive positions at the AGM in Adelaide. Here we give a short profile of the delegates from Western Australia,Victoria, New South Wales and the Northern Territory.


Lester Coyne
Lester Coyne
FATSIL Chairperson Western Australia
Language - Noongar

At the recent AGM, Lester Coyne was voted in to his fourth term as Chairperson of the national body.

Lester's employment experience has included 10 years with the Dept. of Employment, Education and Training; Recruitment
Manager for the Aboriginal Community controlled Health in WA.; Chairperson of ABMusic Corporation in Perth and Chairperson of the ATSIC Regional Council.

The focus for Lester during his term as FATSIL Chairperson has been to strengthen the networking arrangements between the language body and related organisations, with the result of better understanding between FATSIL, ATSIC and the Regional Language Management Committees.At the community level, Lester is enthusiastic about the outcomes already achieved. "When you hear our kids in the playground using their own language — that's the key to it all. That's when you know that this is all worthwhile:"

Barbara McGillivray
Barbara McGillivray
FATSIL Honorary Secretary Western Australia
Language Tjupan

Barbara was born and raised in the Eastern Goldfields region of Western Australia and has been actively involved with the Wangkanyi Ngurra Tjurta Aboriginal Centre in Kalgoorlie since 1993.

Barbara believes that the key to surviving in today's society is to maintain a positive outlook regardless of the difficulties ahead. "One of my aims is to encourage our people to put aside their differences and start working together as a nation for our future goals and aspirations. We need to look at the big picture, and not with tunnel vision."

Barbara hopes to see Aboriginal studies included as part of the curriculum in all Australian schools and will work towards lobbying Government at local, state and national level to see that there is a greater awareness of the issues promoted by FATSIL as the national body.

Sandra Smith
Sandra Smith
FATSIL Treasurer Victoria
Language - Palawa Kani

Originally from Tasmania, Sandra Smith has lived in Victoria for 25 years. She has worked as Liaison and Project Officer for the Victorian Museum, and has in recent years been employed as the Coordinator of the Museum's Family History Project.

Sandra has been a FATSIL delegate since 1996 and has served a number of terms as the organisation's Treasurer.

As a member of the Victorian State Languages Committee, Sandra has a keen interest in the work undertaken through community projects, to retrieve and record the languages in the State, and is motivated by the belief that the languages can be revived and in fact, taught to the younger generation.

Sandra is committed to supporting the promotion of FATSIL as the peak body for indigenous languages and to ensuring that the profile of the organisation continues to be strengthened.

Doris Paton
Doris Paton
Gippsland Victoria
Language - Ganai

Doris Paton, the Koori Unit Program manager for the Central Gippsland Institute of TAFE, is in her second year as FATSIL delegate for Victoria.

With a long history of involvement in Education and Community organisations, Doris is completing a Master of Education specialising in Indigenous Education.

Doris is keen to see the development of Ganai language kits for use in schools and local community (with local language speakers as teachers). Her ambition as a FATSIL delegate is to work to raise the profile of languages at local, state, and national level, increasing awareness in all sectors. Doris believes that the development of national language policies should support growing numbers of indigenous language speakers for future generations.
FAKen Walker
New South Wales
Language - Gumbaynggirr

Ken Walker has a long history of involvement with the administration of Aboriginal organisations in the mid north coast region of New South Wales. He was a banana grower and cane cutter in the Nambucca area for many years, and has been a FATSIL delegate since 1998.

Ken is a language worker with the Muurbaay Aboriginal Language and Culture Cooperative at Nambucca Heads, which holds adult language and cultural education courses at the centre and teaches language to children in the local schools.

On the role of FATSIL and national language programs, Ken says "There is only one direction, and that is onwards and upwards."

Nalwarri Ngurruwutthun Yirrkala
Nalwarri Ngurruwutthun Yirrkala
Northern Territory
Clan Language - Munyuku, Speaker of Dhuwaya

Nalwarri has worked at the Yirrkala Community Education Centre for 25 years, the last five of those as the Principal.
Currently Nalwarri is Principal of theYirrkala Homelands Schools, a role which has her oversee the running of eight schools in homeland centres. She has been chairperson of the Miwatj Language Management for the past 7 years and took on the role of FATSIL delegate in 1997.
Her ambitions for language work in the Yirrkala region are to see the production of a greater number of teaching resources, using the work that has already been developed in the local area.

Nationally, Nalwarri is keen to see the continued strengthening of ties between FATSIL,ATSIC and Regional Language Committees.


Veronica Dobson
Veronica Dobson
Alice Springs Northern Territory
Language - Eastern Arrernte

Veronica Dobson has recently taken up the position as one of the FATSIL delegates for the Northern Territory. She comes to the committee with an extensive history of involvement in language programs in the Territory, and in fact attended the first national language meeting in 1992, from which the ATSILIP program was formulated.

Veronica has been involved in the establishment of curriculum for the LOTE languages in high schools, and for many years has taught Arrernte to both Indigenous and European children in the schools in Alice Springs. Bush medicine and spiritual healing are both strong interests and Veronica currently teaches Arrernte at the Bachelor of Arts Course at I.A.D.

Veronica aims to see language awareness and interpreting services strengthened in schools, hospitals, courts, and government organisations as well as banks and private companies.

In our next issue, delegates from Queensland, Tasmania, Torres Strait Islands and South Australia will be profiled.