Barngarla celebrate NAIDOC language theme

GREETING: Barngarla youth Darnell Richards and Kaiden Hancock-Richards with their greeting cards as they show their appreciation for this year's NAIDOC Week theme.

GREETING: Barngarla youth Darnell Richards and Kaiden Hancock-Richards with their greeting cards as they show their appreciation for this year's NAIDOC Week theme.

Members of the Barngarla community in Port Lincoln are excited for this year’s NAIDOC Week theme, ‘Our Languages Matter’.

NAIDOC Week began on Sunday across Australia and this year will celebrate the important role languages play in cultural identity.

For the Barngarla Language Advisory Committee the theme is timely as the Barngarla community has worked to restore the native language in recent years.

Young community member Kaiden Hancock-Richards said language was a part of your culture, it was part of who you are.

“It’s (Barngarla language) been lost for so long, we have a purpose to keep it going for the next generation,” he said.

Kaiden said talking in your language gave you a connection to the land and to your ancestors.

Another person happy about this year’s theme is Adelaide University Chair of Linguistics and Endangered Languages Ghil’ad Zuckermann, who has worked with the Barngarla community in its efforts to reclaim its language.

Mr Zuckermann said he had made a recommendation five years ago for a language theme for NAIDOC Week and was happy to see it as this year’s theme.

He said Aboriginal people have a trinity of language, land and people but if he had to choose he believed language was more important than land.

“When you lose the land, the land is still there, but if you lose the language then there’s nothing there,” he said.

Mr Zuckermann said he made a presentation to the Jiao Tong University in China about language reclamation and used the Barngarla efforts as a positive example.

The NAIDOC Week community march will take place today by the playground on Tasman Terrace beginning at 10.30am and will continue to Youthoria where the opening ceremony will begin at 11.45am. The annual cookout will be at the wombat pit at Mallee Park Football Club beginning at 10.30am

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