Since I found out, I’ve been studying the stories that have been passed down from generation to generation, and the language involved.
"Culture and language are important
because they not only help you to identify
as yourself, but they help you understand
where you come from and where you are."
My language skills are still a bit ‘how ya going’ basic, but it’s cool listening to people who can talk fluent Gumbaynggir.
But, when I went to enrol in the Gumbaynggir language class in year 9, there were only three other people that also choose it, so the class didn’t run. I felt pretty sad that I couldn’t keep studying my language at school.
Article 30 of the Children's Convention says that "Children have the right to learn and use the language and customs of their families whether or not these are shared by the majority of people in the country where they live."
Now I study it through the NGO AIME Mentoring, they’re trying to teach as many young Indigenous people how to speak their language, which is really good.
But, I still believe it would be good if Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages were taught at school more.
Especially for Aboriginal kids who want to learn their language but can’t, because they don’t have family or Aboriginal elders who speak it fluently any more.
Culture is significant to everyone, not just those from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, but for me, culture was something that I never got to learn, which I wish I did.
I think if you have any culture behind you, or if you think you have any, don’t be afraid to ask, and don’t be afraid to express it.
Be proud of who you are and who your culture is and what your ancestors represented.