Protecting, Preserving and Celebrating Indigenous Languages and Arts of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples
The Australian Government acknowledges the intrinsic value of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures for all Australians and Australia as a nation. Language and art form a large part of culture and are essential to the wellbeing and identity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. They play an integral role in maintaining the sustainability, vitality and strength of Indigenous communities. The Department of Communications and the Arts works with Indigenous communities, arts and languages centres to protect, preserve and celebrate the languages of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Under the Indigenous Languages and Arts grant program, over A$20 million is invested annually in activities assisting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to express, preserve, maintain and celebrate their cultures through languages and arts. A key component of the language activity is a network of 22 community-based Indigenous Language Centres working on 165 languages. Funding directed to arts activities supports a diverse range of traditional and contemporary Indigenous arts projects.
In addition, the Australian Government committed A$10 million over four years from 2016-17 to protect, preserve and celebrate our Indigenous languages. This measure supports innovative digital solutions to capture and teach Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages, digital skills capability in communities and career pathways for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander language workers and linguists. Consistent with the Australian Government’s commitment to working in collaboration with Indigenous Australians, the implementation of Australia’s Indigenous languages policies continues to be informed by ongoing discussion and collaboration with communities. A demonstration of this collaboration was a National Indigenous Languages Convention held in February 2018, with over 150 delegates attending from Indigenous Language Centres, governments, industry, peak organisations, education and community. This was the first event of its kind in Australia hosted by the Australian Government.
Further, the Department of Communications and the Arts is working in partnership with the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, the Australian National University and an Indigenous social research company to develop an Indigenous languages report, to represent the current status of Indigenous languages in Australia and articulate the opportunities Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures offer. The report will be published in 2019, the United Nations International Year of Indigenous languages.
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will continue to be able to express, preserve, maintain and celebrate their culture through language and art
- Indigenous languages that are endangered will be revived and maintained.
- Over A$20 million per annum for the Indigenous Languages and Arts program
- An additional A$10 million over four years from 2016-2020 to protect, preserve and celebrate Indigenous languages
Individual grants distributed under the measure are regularly evaluated against milestones and activity performance as outlined in the funding agreements. This includes financial reporting for all funded projects.
The diverse range of projects funded under this measure were found to have contributed towards the following project objectives:
- Preserve, revive and maintain Indigenous languages by:
- facilitating activities that capture and preserve Indigenous language
- promoting participation in Indigenous language teaching and learning
- developing Indigenous language resources, including utilising digital technology in an innovative and culturally sensitive manner.
- Develop, produce, present, exhibit or perform a diverse range of traditional and contemporary Indigenous arts.
- Support new and innovative forms of Indigenous expression through art.
- Support the transmission and development of Indigenous cultural heritage and knowledge through languages and arts projects.