COVID-19 Advice for the JCU Community - Last updated: 8 June 2022, 12pm (AEST)

Featured News NAIDOC celebration of First Languages

Media Releases

Fri, 30 Jun 2017

NAIDOC celebration of First Languages

My Pathway and James Cook University (JCU) have partnered to present a NAIDOC Week 2017 event that celebrates the importance of traditional language. A presentation by the Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation (ALNF) will explore options to provide language resources that are made by the community, with the community and for the community.

ALNF Board Member, Professor Tom Calma AO, said that First Languages were at risk of extinction and we needed to work with communities to find solutions.

“I repeatedly hear from Elders across Australia that their languages are becoming extinguished, dormant or endangered. The ability to speak, read and write in their own language contributes to the health, wellbeing, education and future of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” said Professor Calma AO.

“The ALNF is working to provide resources and tools to communities, so they can protect their traditional languages for current and future generations.”

My Pathway Culture and Diversity Manager, Kenny Bedford, said organisations could play an important role in encouraging innovation for the benefit of Indigenous cultures.

“This initiative is a demonstration of My Pathway’s aim to raise awareness among our families and communities about the possibilities available to help maintain and preserve traditional language and dialects,” said Mr Bedford.

“We are committed to building stronger communities and appreciate the important role that languages play in maintaining culture and traditions as well as developing community health and well-being.”

Acting Head of JCU’s Cairns campus, Dr Dale Anderson, said the University was pleased to support literacy in Australia’s First Languages.

“The Tropics are home to more than eighty per cent of the world’s languages, and many of those are endangered. Our Tropical Languages and Cultures Documentation Laboratory aims to counteract that, and we are also pleased to help celebrate First Languages and spread the word through events like this,” said Dr Anderson.

The event will commence at 10am for a 10.30am start, Monday 3 July 2017, at The Cairns Institute Lecture Theatre, James Cook University, McGregor Road, Smithfield. ALNF Board Member, Professor Tom Calma AO will be joined by his colleagues Executive Educational Advisor, Eric Brace and Early Language and Literacy Trainer, Virginia Chatterton for a panel discussion and Q&A.

Media enquiries: linden.woodward@jcu.edu.au