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Date:March 29, 2021


Dr Sue Stanton, Batchelor Institute's Elder Academic  Pertame vanessa

The Seminar Series will strive to educate people about Aboriginal knowledge they have not been exposed to before.

Last month, Kungarakan Traditional Owner-Custodian and Elder Academic, Dr Sue Stanton, and Alyawarre woman, Associate Professor Kathryn Gilbey, launched the new monthly Batchelor Institute Seminar Series, which was a great success!

The first seminar, Kuduum Grabu: Country is Speaking to Us, presented by Elder Academic, Dr Stanton, explained the meaning and messages held within “kuduum grabu” specifically, and land and country speaking to us generally.

Associate Professor Stanton said, “We want the series to be a life lesson, we want people to listen to the rustle of the wind through the leaves and learn. The Seminar Series will strive to educate people about Aboriginal knowledge that they have not been exposed to before.”

And the first seminar did exactly that, fostering discussions amongst the 55 staff at the Batchelor and Desert People’s Centre campuses and those who watched online.

The second seminar Ngketya nwerna nema nwernakenha – Our language is who we are by Pertame Language Activist and Arrernte Project Officer of the Batchelor Institute CALL program, Vanessa Farrelly, and apprentices Auriel Swan, Shania Armstrong, Leeanne Swan, and master Elder Christobel Swan, was presented at the Desert Peoples Centre campus in Central Australia last week.

Vanessa manages the Pertame Master-Apprentice Program, to grow the next generation of fluent Pertame speakers, to protect the severely endangered language. With only 10 elderly fluent Pertame speakers, if nothing is done, Pertame will disappear in the next few years, along with over 60,000 years of history, heritage, knowledge of country and a unique perspective of the world.

The Pertame Master-Apprentice Program is growing the next generation of fluent speakers within a healthy, thriving and connected Pertame community.

Vanessa said, “We want to become strong people, raising strong families who hold their Pertame identity in their heart through language.”

The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) National Indigenous Language Report revealed new data that Aboriginal people who speak language had improved spiritual, mental and physical health, better career opportunities, were more willing to take on leadership roles in the community and had stronger, more connected communities.

Vanessa said, “We want to see positive community development for our people through saving our language. To achieve this, we are using innovative methods of language revival developed by Native American communities and taken up globally.”

The monthly Seminar Series will continue to feature impressive speakers from around the country and the globe, and aim to strengthen people’s understanding through sharing knowledge and stories. The next seminar has been flagged for 23 April.