Maintaining the Links Language, Identity and the Land PDF Print E-mail

The Federation for Endangered Languages (FEL) Conference "Maintaining the Links Language, Identity and the Land" was held in Broome from the 22-24 of September.

The gathering was a wonderful opportunity to meet with people from all over the world who speak or work with endangered languages, and to learn about the type of work that other endangered language speakers are doing.

Guests travelled from Kenya, the Panama, Morocco, Canada,Alaska and South Africa, as well as from around Australia to attend.There was a diverse gathering of delegates with Kimberley people particularly well represented.

The conference was opened by Yawuru people and the opening speech given by Patrick Dodson. Mr Dodson called for recognition to be paid to indigenous languages and spoke of the need for better levels of communication between speakers of indigenous languages and others.
Conference papers covered a diverse range of topics such as: Language, identity and land; survival and maintenance in rural, urban and displaced settings; the role of the environment in Language maintenance; the needs of young people; the value and purpose of renewing community links to traditional language and land; issues facing Language Centres; teaching language in schools; and protection of Language and other cultural knowledge.

From the Kimberley region presenters included Keeley Palmer and David Newry (Miriwoong), June Oscar and Joyce Hudson (Kimberley Language Resource Centre), Carolyn McAdams (Jaru), and many more.

A large group of Kimberley artists painted a banner during the conference. The artwork was presented to FEL to take back to their headquarters in London.