I acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land, the Wiradjuri people. This column is dedicated to those who have gone before us, to those present and to those who will follow us.
OVER the last year I have visited many schools and communities in and around Wiradjuri Ngurambang (country).
We have such an amazing garray (land) that is very connecting and beautiful.
Madhu (many) of the places that I go are sometimes out of the way of the busy push and shove of our larger towns and cities.
Places like, Hillston, Rankin Springs, Oaklands, and more, are little pockets of our country that are just so special and connecting to me.
The little schools that I visit, when I do my school programs, are always full of wide-eyed students who are eager to learn and share about Wiradjuri culture and language.
Most times they teach me about what they see and feel in Wiradjuri Garray (land).
I yarn and dance with the students, go on bush walks and talk Wiradjuri language with them.
We do art and also sometimes play some games.
But every school that I go to is always different in what they know and share.
Some areas know more about the wildlife than others.
Some, if they live near the major bila (rivers), may know more about flood patterns, and depending on just where the area is, may have balugan (animals) that are only in their area.
So I ask the students about all these things, and they are happy to teach me.
I’m not an expert on much, but I’m happy to share what I have been taught and learnt to those who care to listen.
I do find that our Wiradjuri language is always greeted with much respect and wonder.
This is a far cry from so long ago when we were not allowed to speak, or teach, Wiradjuri language.
To be able to know your mother tongue is to know where you have come from, it also helps you to know where you are going.
Being able to regain some ground back as far as teaching and talking language again is a very rewarding thing for us to do. It helps to bring back pride and respect to madhu mayiny (many people).
Just think that not that long ago, just in our area, we had over 200 different ways of talking and saying language.
A multitude of ways of communicating with others in our area, being able to speak several different variations of language was a standard thing that Wiradjuri did.
If I was to go back in time and try to yarn to our past people, the language that I speak now would not be the same, it would be slightly different.
But as in any culture, language or art, things change, they evolve, morph into new modern variations.
Culture, language and art are a living thing, they change to suit what is needed and wanted at the time.
But to be able to sit in front of young people who are not blinded by colour, race or hate, and to be able to see the life and excitement in their miil (eyes) as we teach and share with each other is amazing.
I know that all the time spent driving to out of the way places and the long hours preparing my school programs is worth every moment of my time.
For more sharing and learning go to my community Facebook page at www.facebook.com/WiradjuriMob
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