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Port Hedland Conference Wrap-up | Language, Robinson, Aboriginal, Indigenous, Diane, Development, Aunty, Queensland | FATSILC, Fed. Aboriginal Torres Strait Island Languages and Culture
Port Hedland Conference Wrap-up PDF Print E-mail
Aunty Diane Robinson Kariyarra Elder
Aunty Diane Robinson Kariyarra Elder
Northern Territory delegate, Merlyn Bandaynga,best summed up the feeling of FATSIL’s National Indigenous Languages Forum last November, when she spoke about her work for the NT Interpreting service; “strong language, strong culture, strong mind, strong spirit”. Along with her colleagues, Colleen Rosas and Mildred Inkamala, she was one of 50 participants from around the country who gathered at Port Hedland, WA, to exchange and explore local experiences in Indigenous language development.

This year the Kariyarra people hosted the Forum. Aunty Diane Robinson welcomed delegates to country and, with local Elder Bruce Thomas, talked about language development at the Wangka Maya Aboriginal Language Centre. Other presentations included; the Traditional Knowledge Recording Project by Victor Steffenson, reclaiming the Nyikina language near Derby, WA, by Jeannie Wabi and Colleen Hattersley,
a terrific video animation by Greg McKellar of Burke, NSW, consultative strategies for language education development by Eileen Hawkes, a
representative of the Curriculum Council of WA, employment strategies by Sara Jane Slattery of the Bloodwood Tree Association Employment Directions Network (Pilbara),news from North Queensland by Christine George and Bridget Priman of the North Queensland Regional Aboriginal Corporation Languages Centre, and a comprehensive explanation of the National Indigenous TV Initiative by Neil Turner. A big mob from Victoria also made the journey and contributed a colourful presentation about the work that the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages is doing.

It wasn’t all work though. Aunty Diane Robinson led a very informative bus tour of important local sites, and Uncle Herb Patton turned it on with a rousing performance of the gum leaf at the conference dinner. Visit for a more detailed outline of the forum’s recommendations.