Language key in Welcome to Country
The Bundiyarra Aboriginal Corporation hosted a Welcome to Country ceremony for visitors to Geraldton’s West Tech Forum last Friday.
Wilunyu-Wajarri woman Nadine Taylor gave the welcoming speech.
Bluff Point Primary School children then sang a Wajarri language song followed by a longer speech by Irra Wangga Language Centre manager and Bundiyarra board member Jennifer Gregory-Kniveton.
Ms Gregory-Kniveton told the guests Bundiyarra, which means “safe place”, began 20 years ago as a resource centre for the Aboriginal community.
It is the parent body of the Irra Wangga Language Centre, which has published several dictionaries of local languages and is developing other resources such as the Wajarri app to help adults and children learn them.
Ms Gregory-Kniveton said plans included webinars, digital books and more online resources.
The Bundiyarra complex in Utakarra is also home to the Geraldton Streetwork Aboriginal Corporation, which aims to meet young Yamaji peoples’ needs.
Ms Gregory-Kniveton said Bundiyarra depended on private philanthropy and Government support, and for that reason finances for various programs and projects ebbed and flowed with each Government. “What we tell them is we don’t want a handout, we want a hand up,” Ms Gregory-Kniveton said.
Bundiyarra is planning its 20th anniversary celebrations in 2018.
Bluff Point Primary School children sang a Wajarri language welcome song.