Apurte Irretye-ke Celebration of Languages PDF Print E-mail

The conference was officially opened by Minister John Ah Kit, the Minister assisting the Northern Territory Chief Minister on Indigenous Affairs.

Over the three days, conference delegates appreciated the information being presented from many of the well established language programs, and were able to give support to project workers who were as yet in the early stages of language reclamation work in their communities. There was useful discussion with representatives from Dept. of Communications Information Technology and the Arts, (DCITA), on the operational changes within that department, and the impact these would have on conditions of funding for language programs. There was particular attention given to changes to the Program Funding Agreements under the Maintenance of Indigenous Languages and Records program.

Day two of the meeting saw the official launch by Mr. Les Turner, General Manager of Indigenous Policy and Arts Support, DCITA, of three major FATSIL projects completed in 2004. These were the National Indigenous Languages Contacts Directory and on-line Contacts Database, the Guide to Community Protocols for Indigenous Language Projects, and Model Agreement for Language Projects, and the FATSIL Indigenous Languages Online Forum.

The power of the Indigenous broadcasting sector and the key role to be played by its members in the maintenance of Indigenous languages was dramatically highlighted in a presentation from CAAMA, the Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association. The organization which has now been in operation for 23 years, is Australia's largest Indigenous production house. It employs Indigenous producers, directors, camera crews and editors and holds the maintenance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander language and culture as a central focus in its operations.
The Te Tau ra Whiri I Te Reo Maori Language Commission, once again supported the conference, this year represented by Sharon Armstrong who spoke on the Matariki Celebrations and the Maori Language Information Program Campaign.

This year's forum attracted strong media attention, generating a record number of interviews and reports on Indigenous language programs around Australia, and the role of FATSIL in representing community programs.

Veronica Dobson
Veronica Dobson
Veronica Dobson, receives the FATSIL Language Achievement Award.

In recognition of over 30 years spent working to preserve and support the languages of central Australia,Arrernte woman Veronica Dobson was awarded the second annual FATSIL Language Achievement Award. Veronica who is an Arrernte teacher, interpreter and translator, has been involved in language revitalization programs since the early 1970's when the Institute for Aboriginal Development in Alice Springs recognized and took the first steps to address the threat to Aboriginal languages in the Northern Territory.

Torres Strait Islands representative needed

THE Governing Committee of FATSIL is calling for expressions of interest from persons living in the Torres Strait Islands :o fill a newly created position on the Governing Committee as Torres Strait Islander representative.This position will be in addition to the existing appointment of Jacob Pilot as delegate representing Torres Strait Islander programs on the mainland.