2020 Semester 2

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2 replies
  1. Kellie-D
    Kellie-D says:

    How lucky are we to have participated in this course. It is so unique and just a glimpse into the incredible Bininj culture.
    I have loved learning about the culture additional to just the grammar and vocabulary. In particular, bush tucker, art, music and kinship systems. No matter how much you have been taught about kinship systems in the part, there is always still so much to learn. So incredible complex yet something that comes so easy to Bininj mob.

    The online environment has been challenging for me. Personally, I love going to university because it is here where you get to share ideas and help each other. Given I have been living and working in Gunbalanya where the internet and power go out often, it has been challenging to plan study in (I found the days I would plan to do a whole day of study, the internet would be down etc). Therefore, it was hard for me to meet the fortnightly deadlines with the posts.

    The only other language I have learned properly was Swedish when I lived in Sweden. It was face to face and quite an easy language to learn and therefore I picked it up a lot quicker. Living in Gunbalanya was helpful to my language development though.

    This course has just made me more interested in Indigenous Australian’s. I find their culture fascinating. I loved that it was a real positive focus on Indigenous Australia’s as a lot of my other studies with my masters of public health have been revolved around health issues of Indigenous Australians. This has been a breath of fresh air to my studies.

    There are so many benefits in learning this language. Communicating with my patients in their language shows them that I am committed to the community, interested in helping them and open to learn from them. It is so easy to see how delighted they are when you just simply say a few words to them in language. They are always willing to correct you which is great to balance out power when it comes to a clinic setting.

    I won’t do anything different having done this course as I have done many cultural awareness courses however I will speak to Bininj mob differently having done this course.

    My attitude about Indigenous people and culture has not changed. I am still fascinated by it and understand I will forever be learning – there will never be a point that I will know it all. It is so incredibly complex. I guess I used to think that the sentence structures must have had to be incredibly confusing before I started learning the language. However, now when I attempt to follow the conversations I can listen and hear that it is the words that are complex and the senate structures are quite basic.

    Nothing has suprised me from what I have learnt in this course however Bininj mob continue to surprise me everyday.

  2. Andrea-P
    Andrea-P says:

    I feel very privileged to have learnt just a small amount of an Australian Indigenous language. I now find myself listening to conversations around Darwin, hoping for some words that I understand. Recently I met a family from Goulbourn Island with roots to Manmoyi. I met this family at the supermarket when I recognised them speaking Kunwinjku and spoke to them in language. We had many connections and topics to discuss and they were thrilled that I was learning their language and that they called me daughter. I was thrilled that I had seen some of the same country, knew the same people and could connect with people I wouldn’t usually connect with. At home this was just like catching the train and talking to random people but I have felt quite disconnected from Aboriginal people in Darwin. I used to fear the noisy interractions within these groups of people but I understand much more about culture and rascism and recognise that the fear may be the opposite way around. I have noticed a great deal of rascism around me which I find quite disappointing and discouraging. Following the course and from having many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander friends around Australia, I now make an effort to bridge the divide whenever there is an opportunity. I feel the enormous privelege of learning from the oldest continuous culture on earth and also the sadness that there is so much ongoing disadvantage within the community.

    Alongside learning about bininj culture I have found my curiosity for other cultures surrounding me growing as well. There are many Indian, Phillipino, Thai and Nepalese people in Darwin and I am happy to hear how their everyday culture differs from mine. I am also fascinated by the different Aboriginal languages that I hear each day and continually search for common ground and that elusive Kunwinjku speaker.
    I am grateful for the opportunity to learn Kunwinjku and would love to continue learning at a more complex level if there is an opportunity in the future; however, for now, I will continue to practice what I have learned when spending time with bininj friends.

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