"Putting Aboriginal languages on the curriculum has improved 'race' relations"
He’s not an aboriginal Australian. Nevertheless he has to learn the local indigenous language. He and many other children say it’s fun. Teachers, parents and linguists say it is improving self-esteem, literacy and school attendance, rescuing indigenous languages from near oblivion and bringing communities closer together, according to a story in the Sydney Morning Herald.
“Putting Aboriginal languages on the curriculum in Walgett has improved ‘race’ relations", the newspaper informs.
Sharon Cooke, an Aboriginal education consultant says:
“"It’s the white kids and the black kids. They all learn together and sing together, it’s really quite beautiful, it’s quite emotional when you see it … and not just for the Aboriginal kids. You’ll see the pride on the faces of non-Aboriginal kids as well, that they’re learning this language.”
Aunty Fay Green, a local elder, says:
“I can speak for a lot of our elders who feel the same as I do, and I look at it this way, it’s reconciliation. It brings two cultures together instead of pulling away from one another, which we used to do. They’re together now, they are. You can see that in the school, they stand by one another.”
Indigenous languages are being taught throughout Australia. But New South Wales remains the only state with an indigenous languages policy. 41 state schools in New South Wales were teaching Aboriginal languages to some degree by 2006 - but only a few of them offer it as their mandatory.
For more recent related news see entries on the blog Culture Matters: ‘White flight’ in Australian schools and Group removed from hostel for being Aboriginal and Marcia Langton on the parliament’s apology to the Stolen Generation