Former AIATSIS Chairman, Professor Mick Dodson, once commented that previous surveys on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages painted a complex picture.
Across the country, people are identifying with or speaking different traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages to different extents: in some places people may be using a traditional Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander language for everyday communication. In other places people may be re-learning their Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander language. In some places people may be identifying with or speaking more than one Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander language.
In addition, urbanisation has meant that many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people no longer live in the heartlands of their ancestors.
Despite this complex and evolving picture, language continues to be central to one’s sense of identity and belonging. In a submission to Parliament in 2012, A. Turner of the Artepe Aboriginal Corporation said:
“Language is what we know of people – we know of him or her. If they speak my sacred language, I must be related to their kinships. Language is how people identify themselves. Being you is to know your language.”
So tell us, what languages do you identify with? Take the survey below! (It should take about 10 minutes to complete)