Melbourne forum the best yet! PDF Print E-mail

The inaugural FATSIL Language Achievement award was presented to Geraldine Rose Yamuk' Briggs. Pictured is her daughter MargaretWirrpunda, who accepted the award on her mother's behalf, with daughter Aretha Briggs (right) and Leanne Miller (left).
The inaugural FATSIL Language Achievement award was presented to Geraldine Rose Yamuk' Briggs. Pictured is her daughter MargaretWirrpunda, who accepted the award on her mother's behalf, with daughter Aretha Briggs (right) and Leanne Miller (left).
A record number of people from all states and territories gave an overwhelming endorsement to the success of the FATSIL National Indigenous Languages Forum,Wayalak,Wurrung, Ngarnga Youth, Language and Education in Melbourne in February.

The forum was notable both for its practical outcomes and the emotion shared by the presenters and audience members alike. Young community members, speaking to the audience of over 130 people, drew praise from the Elders for their vision and determination and for accepting the mantle of the future keepers of the language.

In opening the Languages Forum,Victorian Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Mr Gavin Jennings, expressed his government's support for the preservation of Indigenous cultural programs, and the work of the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) in achieving the introduction of language studies as aVCE subject. The Minister has opened the way for the formulation of a Victorian Aboriginal Languages Policy,which will be initiated through further discussions this year.

Chairperson Lester Coyne announced a year of record achievements for the peak body, after his reelection for an eighth term in the chair.

The tone of the Melbourne forum was informal, with most sessions conducted by community workers.A highlight for the audience was the presentation by the four person delegation from the Maori Language Commission -Te Taura Whiri i to Re, who opened and closed their session with song, and encouraged Australian language workers with accounts of successful strategies employed overseas.

Mrs Geraldine Rose `Yamuk' Briggs was honored with the inaugural FATSIL Language Achievement Award, which was accepted by her daughter Mrs Margaret Wirrpunda and her granddaughter Aretha Briggs. FATSIL plans to acknowledge the many years of hard work undertaken by individuals, helping their own languages and others throughout their state or territory.

This article was also published in the Koori Mail.

Here are a few quotes from people who attended:

"A really great experience and a true eye opener."
Alex Arposio, NSW.

"It was good because Aboriginal people get to speak.You hear people who are living it speaking here.They are the people who are living it and maintaining the languages. We get to hear from people from different lands and experiences."
Carolyn McAdam, Kimberleys.

"Bloody excellent.The Maori lot were absolutely superb. I found my people from home. I'm coming again. I'm here for my young people and my beautiful sons and grandchildren."
Cecelia Campbell. NSW

"One of the best things was seeing the other publications. Here they have top class publications."
WA community member.

"I'd just like to say, the first one was remarkable.This one was better by far."
Malcolm Pettigrove, facilitator for the second time.