Thursday, April 2nd, 2009
A national forum warns Australia is in danger of losing its ancient Indigenous languages - and the rich cultural teachings that go with them - if communities do not engage with the modern world of information and communication technologies (ICTs).

With the theme "Modern Ways for Ancient Words", the national Puliima forum will be attended by cultural, education, ICT and language experts from all over Australia (April 1-2, William Angliss Institute, La Trobe St, Melbourne.)

Conference organiser Arwarbukarl Cultural Resource Association (ACRA) says there is an urgent need to make the best use of ICTs, while Australia is losing its 250 Indigenous languages faster than any other nation.

The Puliima National Indigenous Languages ICT Forum is funded by the Department Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA), and coordinated by ACRA, based in Newcastle, NSW.  The official opening will take place at the Koori Heritage Trust on the morning of 1st April.

The forum will be the second of its kind to present information on a range of technologies from the more complex programs, to the very simple equipment many people own but don’t ever quite master in the field of Aboriginal Language reclamation and revitalisation.

All states and territories will be represented by Aboriginal community people. The focus will be on working together in a community friendly atmosphere, and all presentations and displays will have relevance for Australia’s traditional Indigenous language programs.

The Manager of Arwarbukarl CRA, Daryn McKenny, has a passionate interest in both language revival and in helping to support Aboriginal people to develop ways of utilising technology. “This is an ideal opportunity that we have here where the world’s oldest culture and languages can come together with the world’s newest culture, technology. Just like the theme of our forum says 'Modern Ways for Ancient Words'”.

Mr McKenny goes on to say: “This is the chance to get some hands-on experience with appropriate equipment and to look over new technology as well. We all know that our languages are disappearing faster than any other Indigenous nation in the world and we need to come together as one to see and discuss how information technology can help stop our languages from being lost. Time is of the essence and technology must be used to play its part.”

In the long term, it is envisaged that the forum will continue to have a role in inspiring the future development or adaptation of technology to continue to benefit Aboriginal communities, not only in language reclamation, education and health but across the range of issues affecting community wellbeing.

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Arwarbukarl Cultural Resource Association

Arwarbukarl CRA is a not for profit Aboriginal organisation federally funded to assist in ways of utilising technology to assist in saving our 250 plus Indigenous languages.
Daryn McKenny
P: 0428 963 363


Australian Indigenous languages are disappearing faster than any other nation. The Puliima ('Making voice') conference urges action by using new media and technologies.



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