Struggle for the Homelands

These 4 articles below and links underneath provide a brief picture of Baymarrwangga’s struggle.  Please download and circulate them as we need to let people know what is happening :

1. YAN-NHANGU LANGUAGE OF THE CROCODILE ISLANDS,

2. CROC SOLID AT THE CIR,

3. BAYMARRWANGGA – VISION FOR KIN AND COUNTRY,

4. TALKING YAN-NHANGU CULTURE -KANTRI LAIF 2010


You can also help by going to:

http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/support-indigenous-homelands.html

http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/crocodile-islands-ranger-program.html

http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/save-indigenous-languages.html

and signing the online petitions AND printing out the PDF file here: CIR Leaflet signing it and sending it off to the addresses mentioned on it.  People Power works.

Laurie Baymarrwangga senior traditional owner of Murrungga Island and speaker of the Yan-nhangu language found herself in a difficult position. On the one hand, she recognised the injustice of the government’s prohibition of mother tongue use in the first four hours of school and the rescinding of bilingual education, and on the other, powerful negative discourses from the State and media calling for assimilation. In line with local tradition she created practical projects focusing on the intergenerational transmission of her language and values to create the Crocodile Islands Initiative (CII). The CII works to enhance linkages between biological and linguistic diversity as a basis for sustainable culture based livelihoods, management of natural and cultural resources and well-being for future generations. Practical projects like the Crocodile Islands Ranger (CIR) program, a trilingual dictionary/encyclopedia for schools project, the development of a Web-based Yan-nhangu Ecological Knowledge (YEK) Data-Base for schools and Yan-nhangu speaking ‘Language Nests‘ strive to provide opportunities for appropriate cultural transfer in increasingly troubled times. These programs exist as initiatives by people on the islands in the vacuum created by government, Shires, and the 2007 intervention . One of her key initiatives was the creation of the Yan-nhangu dictionary project which can be found on the Crocodileislandsrangers.com web site.

There are some five hundred living homelands where the jewel of our languages and culture are being passed on, and they are all under threat by the ‘stronger futures’ policy. This policy proposes to move the some 10,000 people from their homelands into the 20 already overcrowded ‘growth towns’ breaking the links between country, language and site specific cultural knowledge some 50.000 years in the making.

Please help the courageous Laurie Baymarrwangga in her struggle to turn back the tide of assimilation, help breathe new life into living indigenous homelands in the NT and save the treasure of our national cultural heritage for the future of all Australians.

[1] The U.N Human Development Report insists that there is ‘… no more powerful means of ‘encouraging’ individuals to assimilate to a dominant culture than having the economic, social and political returns stacked against their mother tongue. Such assimilation is not freely chosen if the choice is between one’s mother tongue and one’s future. (http://hdr.undp.org/reports/global/2004/33)

PLEASE SIGN THE PETITIONS

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One thought on “Struggle for the Homelands

  1. We must end the assimilation and support the 500 living homelands for the future of all children where ever they may live.

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