Batchelor Institute » Native American and Indigenous Australian communities to converge at Master-Apprentice Conference
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Date:June 22, 2022

Native American and Indigenous Australian communities to converge at Master-Apprentice Conference


A fast-approaching conference at the Desert Peoples Centre in Alice Springs is set to facilitate international cultural connections and knowledge sharing between Native American and Indigenous Australian communities, as part of vital efforts to help keep languages strong.

The Master-Apprentice Indigenous Language Revival Conference on 8-11 August 2022 will bring together Indigenous language groups from across Australia with language revival experts who developed the Master-Apprentice method in California and have seen great successes within their own language communities. The method develops fluency through breath-to-breath language immersion, using traditional oral intergenerational language transmission from Elders to youth.

The event’s organiser, Pertame School – a project of Batchelor Institute within the Centre for Australian Languages and Linguistics – is a community-led language revival program empowering Elders to pass on their language and cultural knowledge to the next generations and to ensure that Pertame is not lost. Pertame is a severely endangered Central Australian language, with only around 20-30 fluent speakers remaining.

The training offered during the Master-Apprentice Conference is specifically targeted at other similar endangered Indigenous language groups from around Australia that have fluent Elders and adult learners. Applications are open until 11 July 2022 for Indigenous language groups who wish to learn how to create new fluent speakers through oral immersion sessions.

The conference is a collaboration between Batchelor Institute, Pertame School, the Global Indigenous Language Caucus, the Yuchi Language Project, and Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival. Trainers will include Yuchi Language Project executive director and Global Indigenous Languages Caucus chair Dr Richard Grounds, Advocates for Indigenous California Languages board member Julian Lang, as well as Halay Turning Heart and Jiles Turning Heart.

The cost of accommodation, tickets and catering at the four-day conference will be fully covered. While participants will be expected to cover their own transport to Alice Springs, several travel scholarships will be available in special circumstances.

For more information, visit the conference webpage, view the conference flyer, or apply via the online form.