The Language Centre has evolved from humble beginnings in Angurugu and with the support of the ALC it now has offices located in Angurugu, Umbakumba and has a strong presence the Milyakbura Cultural Centre.
The Groote Eylandt Language Centre continues to assist the broader community by providing an advisory, translation and facilitation capacity to Government, businesses, community-based organisations and individuals. It is involved on an ongoing basis in a number of projects that foster language and preservation of culture at various levels.
With the advent of mobile phones and social media, the Anindilyakwa-speaking population of Groote Eylandt now has more exposure to knowledge and information than ever before. Warnumamalya children are able to explore and experience other cultures and fulfill ALC’s mission statement of walking in both worlds. However, this presents some unique challenges such as the lack of local Anindilyakwa voices and the many personal and cultural issues that may arise from the prevalence of English over their own in the digital space.
Many Anindilyakwa resources are quite old on Groote Eylandt. Many of the books used in classes have been recycled for decades and even then they are generally geared towards early education. People engage the most with social media and in particular video. It is imperative to modernise and digitise many of the old assets to create something contemporary that is capable of reaching a larger audience.
With these in mind, the Groote Eylandt Language Centre have started to produce their own digital resources for Warnumamalya and the content is produced entirely in Anindilyakwa.
In a brave effort to protect, maintain and promote the Anindilyakwa Language the Language Centre initiated Anindilyakwa literacy lessons in the 4 schools of the Groote Archipelago in 2018. The lessons were enthusiastically received by all, and the program has been steadily expanding ever since.
Thanks to a Local Decision-Making Agreement for Education brokered between the Anindilyakwa Land Council and the Northern Territory Government, bilingual programs will officially be adopted in the three community schools: Angurugu, Umbakamba and Milyakurra in 2021. The Language Centre will also continue to deliver Anindilyakwa lessons to students at the Alyangula Area School where students are mostly English speakers.
In the newly established bilingual programs the Language Centre hopes to continue our support for Anindilyakwa language learning, especially literacy in our schools. We will also assist with planning, teaching strategies and the development of resources. Our sessions in schools include songs and games in Anindilyakwa, learning the Anindilyakwa alphabet and the sounds of the language, learning to read from simple primers, vocabulary development, spelling and word-recognition worksheets, listening to stories and watching videos in Anindilyakwa. These lessons are delivered to both children and adults working in the school.
During 2020 the Language Centre has been working closely with the Groote Eylandt and Bickerton Eylandt Primary College Aboriginal Corporation. GEBIPCAC is working within the ALC management structure to establish an independent boarding school. The Language Centre has been supporting the work of developing a bilingual curriculum for the independent school. The work of developing the bicultural curriculum will have flow-on benefits for all the schools in the Groote Archipelago.