QLD 2021 Indigenous Languages Grants now open with record funding investment
To mark Indigenous Literacy Day, Queensland’s Minister for Seniors, Disability Services and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Craig Crawford announced a record $400,000 investment through the 2021 Indigenous Languages Grants allocation, with the hope of preventing more than 100 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages from extinction.
Where Queensland once had more than 150 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages spoken today around 50 of these remain, with less than 20 being used as first languages, predominantly in the north of the state and in the Torres Strait Islands.
For First Nations people, Mr Crawford said, language is a big part of cultural identity.
“The world’s oldest living cultures have a strong tradition of oral story-telling that has been passed down from generation to generation,” he explained, “but it is more than Dreaming stories and Songlines.”
“Language is the foundation of sacred knowledge held by elders and ways of understanding sense of place, being and belonging.”
Nationally, it is estimated that of the more than 300 specific Aboriginal languages used pre-Colonisation, there will be fewer than 100 left in Australia by 2050.
To counter this, the grants seek to support platforms, programs and initiatives that promote, preserve and revive traditional languages.
“We aim for a sustained increase in the number and strength of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages being spoken by 2031,” Mr Crawford said.
“Celebrating language and culture is important on Queensland’s Path to Treaty, as we acknowledge the impacts of historical practices on First Nations people and work towards a just, fair and inclusive future.”
Within this context, Minister for Education Grace Grace said, the dedicated language funding initiative gives all Queenslanders, from our youngest learners to respected Elders, the opportunity to celebrate the languages of the world’s oldest living cultures.
Previous grant funding has supported community kindergartens and learning groups in Bribie Island, Jimboomba and Napranum, and school parent associations in Bamaga, Caboolture and Mossman.
Applications are now open for language grants of up to $20,000 to support community initiatives to celebrate, promote and revive Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages. For more information or to apply, visit www.qld.gov.au/ILG. Applications close at 3.00 pm AEST on Friday 15 October 2021.