Noongar cultural program to connect Harvey to a shining legacy of Indigenous language and customs

Claudette RizziHarvey-Waroona Reporter
Particpants in the Noongar language and culture program in Harvey.
Camera IconParticpants in the Noongar language and culture program in Harvey. Credit: Supplied

The legacy of Aboriginal culture and language continues to bring the Harvey and Waroona community together with a newly established Noongar language and culture program.

The Harvey Aboriginal Corporation was granted $105,556 to deliver a Noongar language and culture program named Noongar Waangkiny Moorditjabiny (Noongar Language Becoming Stronger).

This program was possible with funding from the Federal Government’s Indigenous Language and Arts program which supports the expression, preservation and maintenance of Noongar culture and language.

Harvey elder Lesley Ugle and program coordinator Brad Vitale shared the new program had already had a massive impact and gathered interest from people of all walks of life in the region and expressed their thanks for the vital funding.

Ms Ugle said the grant had deep meaning and significance as she recalled not being allowed to speak her language as a child and now she felt blessed that after so many years more space was being created for everyone to engage with Indigenous language and culture.

“The feeling is more than an emotion, it is a longing,” she said.

“It has been set in stone for many, many years and it is now placed in front of us”.

Mr Vitale said the Noongar Waangkiny Moorditjabiny program aimed to preserve, revitalise and sustain Noongar language.

It would do this by facilitating language practice through learning and teaching activities, supporting the community to improve language knowledge and skill, and recording, preserving and making available Noongar language.

Mr Vitale said the preservation of language and culture, revival of aspects of culture and the result of the culture flourishing were key highlights and benefits.

Mr Vitale said in his role as co-ordinator he had seen some setbacks in reconciliation, particularly in the past year.

“This grant is an opportunity for the Indigenous community to share culture and continue to open doors for reconciliation” he said.

These goals will be achieved through ground breaking initiatives including Noongar language classes, yarning circles to practise language, artefact and tool making workshops, bush food and bush medicine workshops, development of a Bindjareb Noongar language dictionary (hardcopy and online), creation of hardcopy resources such as posters and books, filming of elders and language teachers practising language on country, recording of songs in Noongar language and creation of a language mural.

Language lessons have commenced, with other activities to follow over the next six months.

All aspects of the program will be open to the whole community, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal.

For more information contact www.harveyabcorp.com.au.

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