First Nations Languages

The Reading Writing Hotline partnered with First Languages Australia to celebrate NAIDOC Week 2017 by launching a new website resource to support learning Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.

The new website feature, First Nations Languages, directs people to resources for learning First Languages and guides them to the appropriate ways to connect with communities to make their inquiries.

The initiative is one way to address a recent increase in requests to the Hotline from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The new web based resources, along with other support resources and links, can be found on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait tab of the Hotline’s website.

Faith Baisden from First Languages Australia said that learning traditional languages is not just for children but for a growing number of adults. ‘The Reading Writing Hotline is working with us to make sure that people know the correct protocols around learning Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages’, she said.

Many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander callers to the Hotline have expressed interest in learning their traditional languages. As well as working with callers on improving English literacy, the Hotline is able to connect callers with First Nations language classes and resources.

This is the just the first step for the Hotline. With help from the community the aim is to grow the knowledge bank as people share their resources and knowledge.

Callers have shared their grandparents’ stories of being forbidden from speaking their languages on missions, reserves, and even in their homelands. ‘We need to work together to revitalise these ancient languages, many of which are in danger of being lost, despite their immense spiritual and cultural significance and the knowledge they hold.’

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients of the Hotline will be supported to get back in touch with their community and will be welcomed and encouraged to reconnect with the language of their family.

To find out more about First Nations Languages visit the website or call the Hotline on 1300 6 555 06: