Before British colonisation, there were more than 250 different Indigenous languages spoken across Australia.
Today, there are only about 48 different Aboriginal languages with more than than 100 speakers, and it’s predicted that 25 per cent of the remaining languages will vanish over the next generation.
When a language dies, so too do the stories, songs and insights of an entire culture accumulated over tens of thousands of years.
Australian students must learn a language in High School, with many opting to learn Mandarin, Italian, French or Spanish.
But not in the rural town of Young, New South Wales.
Watch the video playing above, courtesy of SBS, to see an Indigenous language being taught in Young.
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They are part of a growing number of schools around the country teaching an Indigenous language.
Of the 120 students in Year Seven at Young High, 30 identify as Aboriginal. Many of them have parents who denied their heritage, or actively rebelled against exploring it.
But learning an Indigenous language, Wiradjuri in Young’s case, connects students to the land upon which they live. It validates and highlights the Indigenous experience, and respects the roots which we all share.
We live in a country with a rich and complicated history that has bound itself into tapestry of our present, day to day lives.
It is our responsibility to learn what we can about the original inhabitants of this land.
The least we can do is preserve the remnants of what we have left from the oldest surviving culture on planet earth.
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