Leederville Naidoc Week workshops to showcase indigenous languages matter

Jade Doleman will hold a Naidoc song workshop during Naidoc Week. Picture: Andrew Ritchie d470808
Jade Doleman will hold a Naidoc song workshop during Naidoc Week. Picture: Andrew Ritchie d470808

JADE Dolman loves working with non-Aboriginal people because it means another step towards reconciliation.

The Whadjuk/Ballardong Nyoongar, Eastern Arrernte artist brings her cultural workshop to Leederville for Naidoc Week, which this year is themed Our Languages Matter.

Ms Dolman will spend an hour at the City of Vincent library on July 7 teaching Nyungar song and language, something she feels is being lost.

“My grandfather was taken away as part of the stolen generation, so before he was taken, he could speak Nyungar fluently, but then not allowed to speak it anymore, which is the reason our family can’t speak Nyungar,” she said.

“It had a direct impact on the next generation, so my generation, none of us are able to speak it fluently.”

She said with only a few places in Perth that taught the language, it was important to introduce it into the school curriculum.

“Something I’ve been wanting, and other Aboriginal people have wanted, is to get Nyungar languages in schools,” she said.

“I think that would be amazing and a way to revitalise the language and keep it going; we’re learning all these foreign languages of places we might never go, and in the meantime the local language has been lost.”

Ms Dolman said it was important to demystify Indigenous culture, particularly when she is still asked unusual questions.

“A lot of the time schools are teaching the traditional way of living, and lots of students are growing up thinking all Aboriginal people still use spears and are still out in the bush,” she said.

“I get asked funny questions all the time like ‘did you just come from the bush? did you eat kangaroo for breakfast?’

“It’s also important to teach non-Aboriginal people just how much it’s changed and that Aboriginal people aren’t living the way we used to.

“Most of us are in cities now or going to university and working.”

She said she believed teaching non-aboriginal people closed the gap between cultures and helped with reconciliation.

“I love working with Aboriginal people, but I aim my workshops at non-Aboriginal people; I think it’s a big step towards reconciliation, teaching and sharing knowledge with everybody, not just keeping it for Aboriginal people,’ she said.

What: Naidoc Week workshop
When: Friday, July 7. 10am
Where: City of Vincent library 99 Loftus Street, Leederville
Cost: Free
Book: Call 9273 6090 or email libadmin@vincent.wa.gov.au

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