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Homeland | Language, Indigenous, Media, Elders, Project, Aboriginal, Culture, Australia | FATSILC, Fed. Aboriginal Torres Strait Island Languages and Culture
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A cross media proposal for Online and Television focused on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nations, languages and cultures.


For sometime the ABC Indigenous Programs Unit and Indigenous Online have discussed the possibility to undertake a major media project with important archiving outcomes.

Much of the knowledge of traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures resides in the hearts and minds of Elders. It is a fact that many people who possess detailed knowledge of traditional practices, religion and language are passing on.

We have the technology to harvest a wealth of this knowledge and language from around the country before it disappears for all time.

There is a clear need for such a project and we feel an obligation to undertake this work for future educational opportunities and for future generations of Australians.

Project description:

HOMELANDS is a cross media project with both Television and Online outcomes planned.

The team proposes to travel around Australia in production blocks interviewing Elders from a specific region in one trip and undertaking the language translations simultaneously.

The Online strategy will largely focus on the language element of the project and the education objectives of teaching Indigenous languages.
The Television strategy will create interview segments for broadcast both in English and Language.

Online Introduction:

The aim of the project is to explore the intricacies of Indigenous Australian cultures from the unique point of view of community Elders.

A website will be created to highlight the differences and complexities that occur within Indigenous cultures across Australia.

HOMELANDS covers themes such as spirituality through totems, land, language and lived histories.

The project will form the basis of a website. In collaboration with the television element, visual and audio elements will be used in culturally familiar ways to provide insight into specific cultures for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous audiences.

The site will focus on language and exploring the ways in which language varies across a set list of words. Producing this wide network of language and community profiles will also mean that people can keep in touch with their own homelands.

Key features of the website:

Language Mapping —Taking a set list of words, translations will be gathered across several different languages to illustrate and highlight the differences in pronunciation and language across Australia.

Spoken language is in a state of revival, with more and more people seeking to know about the distinctive languages of Indigenous Australia. We will investigate the development of languages and how they relate to the areas.

We will produce activities to allow people to hear, read and interact with the languages we have chosen.

Border Boundaries — From the Elders perspective, discussing country borders is an important issue in forming contemporary Aboriginal Identity. Reclaiming a concept that has been denied to Aboriginal Australians.

The recognition of land complete with boundaries, is an essential ingredient to the culture of the area.

Documenting historical insight from an Elders point of view as to where borders lay is integral to mapping country and culture accurately.

Spoken Stories — Once again, from the Elders perspective, personal histories and culture will be documented and made available, as they were always intended to be, orally.

The increasing use of audio online signifies that there is a place to explore the spoken word, along with voice, uses of language, particularly Aboriginal English and its validity in communities and society as a whole.

Using the recordings from the documentaries, the audience will be able to replay segments in an online media for example, windows media, realmedia, quicktime and possibly Flash Mx media.

Homeland has an important task in recording and protecting for future generations of Australians the culture, religion and language of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

Many of the custodians of culture and language from the first Australian nations are passing away. Homelands is planned to continue over a number of years to build up a significant cultural storehouse from the knowledge of Elders from all around Australia.


David Jowsey
Executive Producer ABC TV
GPO Box 9994
Sydney 2001
PH: 02 9950 4016
FX: 02 9950 4019
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Libby Feez
Online Producer ABC New Media
PH: 02 9950 4026
FX: 02 9950 4019
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