The Importance of Teaching and Learning Aboriginal Languages and Cultures (NSW Government)
The Importance of Teaching and Learning Aboriginal Languages and Cultures: On the 27th of May, 2011 the New South Wales Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, the Honourable Victor Dominello MP announced in a press release that “the NSW Government will investigate how to create further Aboriginal cultural and linguistic opportunities as a key way of closing the gap”. The Minister further stated that “this investigation will include thorough analysis of existing best practice and various trends in promoting indigenous language and culture”. On the basis of this public announcement the NSW Office of Aboriginal Affairs of the NSW Department of Education and Communities undertook the commissioning of a literature based research study with the aim of exploring the linkages between Aboriginal languages and cultures, Aboriginal community well-being and Aboriginal engagement with the education system.
The Importance of Teaching and Learning Aboriginal Languages and Cultures is a Mid-Study Impression
Paper by Dr Shayn Williams who writes:
In a Canadian [British Columbia] study conducted by Darcy Hallet, Michael J . Chandler and Christopher E. Lalonde the matter of Indigenous youth suicide was examined106. In this study these authors found a direct link between the speaking of mother tongue and a reduction in Indigenous youth suicide rates. In their concluding discussion they stated:
the data reported above indicate that, at least in the case of BC, those bands in which a majority of members reported a conversational knowledge of an Aboriginal language also experienced low to absent youth suicide rates. By contrast, those bands in which less than half of the members reported conversational knowledge suicide rates were six times greater.
They then closed with the comment that “... these results demonstrate that indigenous language use, as a marker of cultural persistence, is a strong predictor of health and wellbeing in Canada’s Aboriginal communities”.
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(Sourced from NSW Government – Aboriginal Affairs)