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  5. August 2005 in Dubbo
  6. August 2005 in Dubbo
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August 2005 in Dubbo

Day 1: Focus on Wiradjuri

Dianne Riley-McNaboe

'I’d just like to say I’ve been practising Wiradjuri language for a long time but as a person of my age I feel that it’s real important that the language being brought back is the best reconciliation that anyone could bring about. … For both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people to pull together for something like this is very important. It’s been a major healing thing for myself and for a lot of other Aboriginal people. And I’d just like to thank Stan [Grant Snr] and John [Rudder], who’s not here, and Cecil [Grant], for having the get-up-and-go to have all that patience and time to put it all back together for us and help try to heal some of these spirits. Thank you.'

Diane Riley-McNaboe, Wiradjuri Language Program worker, 22/8/05

'I think Stan Grant would probably be one of my idols I think. His wife is Gamilaraay, same as me, Gamilaraay and he’s Wiradjuri. He just seems so straightforward. … Everything that comes out of his mouth, like regarding language, I just really zone in on that. Like, you’ve got to have the respect, I think, to listen to people in those prominent positions.'

Karen Flick, CLT, St Joseph's Walgett, 18/11/05

Dubbo sharing workshop Day 1

The discussion of a strategic approach to Wiradjuri reclamation

'This is an interesting meeting from our point of view because … over a period of time we’ve had many conversations … with many of you around this room about … what’s the future for our languages. … Sometimes things just happen where we get an opportunity to come together as a group, such as this … to discuss the really big picture issues. I guess that’s the opportunity we are trying to give to you guys today. We definitely want to sit back. This is not our meeting. I want to make it very clear this is not a Board of Studies meeting as such. We are happy to facilitate this meeting and bring you here together to start to commence a very important discussion. It wasn’t that long ago I was very fortuitous to be able to sit in Uncle Stan’s [Grant Snr] kitchen, sitting around having a cup of tea, and we were trying to talk about where do we want things to go for Wiradjuri? What is the future for Wiradjuri? How do we actually pull together what is a very large group … of people… both on-country and off-country? How do we marshall all of the energy and forces coming together? … So I wanted to very quickly point out some of that bigger picture stuff so you can see where you sit. There are a number of people around the room here who were instrumental, [such as] Uncle Stan [Grant Snr], in … assisting the Department of Aboriginal Affairs (DAA) develop the whole-of-government language policy (DAA 2004). That policy is a real first for Australia, the first time any government has acknowledged in print, in public, in press, the fact that Aboriginal people have a right to language and that, in fact, governments have a role and a responsibility to assist communities to restore language… . Presently, the last 12 months, that policy, having been launched last year, has gone through a period of trying to develop a statewide strategic plan. How is that whole-of-government policy going to assist communities right across NSW? While that’s been going on, as many of you know, … when Andrew Refshauge was the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and also the Minister for Education, he announced and commenced what has been a very powerful process, the Review of Aboriginal Education (AECG Inc & NSWDET 2004). … That process [involved] getting out and talking to communities and trying to work out what is it that communities were saying about the value of education and the role of education and it's not surprising that language is one of those issues that was mentioned quite frequently in communities right across NSW as something of having a high value in terms of reconciliation but also in engaging kids back in school. We ourselves, as you know, have been working now for the last five years on the development of a statewide [Aboriginal] Languages syllabus to assist those schools from Kindergarten right through to Year 10 to start the process of teaching [Aboriginal] languages but doing it a way that has some structure and sequence to it. … So that’s some of the big picture stuff. This meeting today is really in your hands.'

Kevin Lowe, Inspector Aboriginal Education, 22/8/05
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