Goldfields Aboriginal Language Centre

WAALLA

WA Aboriginal Languages Legislation Alliance

WAALLA launch YouTube film.               WAALLA launch film script.

WAALLA – a campaign for WA State Aboriginal languages legislation!

The many First Nation languages of WA need to be enshrined and protected under State legislation to ensure their continuation into the future.

On Monday 8 July 2024, a campaign commenced to bring the need for WA First Nations language legislation to the attention of the WA Premier, State Members of Parliament, and policy makers.

A call for the WA Aboriginal Languages Legislation Alliance (WAALLA) comes from the 2023 Aboriginal languages conference held in Kalgoorlie by the Goldfields Aboriginal Language Centre (GALCAC).  First Nations language speakers, workers and linguists at the conference called on the WA State Government to enact protective legislation similar to the legislation created in NSW, the Aboriginal Languages Act 2017.

Since European colonisation, WA’s First Nations languages have remained unrecognised and unsupported through State policy or legislation. This has led to the extinction of some of the State’s 85 languages, with many more being severely threatened unless systemic support and critical policy and legislation is enacted.

Language is identity, the mouth of culture, and the carrier of  culture. To lose a language is like burning down a library; all that information and knowledge is gone forever. The First Nations languages of WA carry tens of thousands of years of knowledge and information about WA. They are State treasures.

Yawuru Elder, Professor Peter Yu, called for State legislation stating, ‘Language was, and always will be, about politics and power. Preserving language sustains the integrity of our native title rights and interests.’

The call for WA State Aboriginal language legislation includes the need for recognition of the First Nations languages as official languages of the State, the establishment of a WA Aboriginal languages trust, and the development of a State 10-year Aboriginal languages strategic plan.

WAALLA is a grassroots-led campaign which directly addresses Closing the Gap (CTG) priority reforms. The National Agreement on CTG states that the reforms,  ‘…focus on measuring the way governments work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’. The WAALLA Campaign is a clear voice to governments to work with WA’s First Nations language communities on State legislation.

Organisations are being urged to join the WAALLA campaign and call on the State Government for Aboriginal languages legislation.

WAALLA Campaign Membership Form

For further information contact the WAALLA campaign managers Goldfields Aboriginal Language Centre (08)9021 3788 or waalla@wangka.com.au

WAALLA’s Statement of Intent

There are 2 things WAALLA is calling for:

  1. The enactment of WA State Aboriginal Languages Legislation.
  2. The establishment of a WA Aboriginal Languages Trust which:

                                -Recognizes W.A. Aboriginal languages as official languages of the State.

                                -Develops and implements a 10-year State Aboriginal languages strategic plan.

Why Should our Organisation Ally with WAALLA?

There are many good reasons why your organisation’s should join the alliance:

            -To ally with WA’s First Nations calling for State language legislation.

            -To ensure the continuation of the 85 First Nations languages of WA.

            -To advocate for linguistic social justice, equity and inclusion.

            -To align your organisation with principles of cultural safety.

            -To showcase your organisation’s integrity.

            -To highlight your organisation’s strong sense of community.

Additionally, your organisation’s allyship can be added to a RAP document and form a strong foundation for your organisation’s cultural safety planning.

How Can Our Organisation Join the Campaign?

You can add your organisation’s voice to the call for WA’s First Nation’s language legislation by becoming a WAALLA ally.

WAALLA Campaign Membership Form

Your organisation can join WAALLA as a registered ally. To do this, complete the membership form and send to the Goldfields Aboriginal Language Centre. The Goldfields Aboriginal Language Centre is the organisation running this campaign.

Once you are a registered ally, an action toolkit will be sent to you which includes:

            -a digital WAALLA ally badge to include on your signature, social media, website and newsletter.

            -5 digital memes which can be posted to social media platforms, your organisation’s website, and newsletters.

            -sample letters to send to local members of parliament and the Premier.

Who can become an ally?

Organisations, rather than individual people, can join to be a WAALLA ally.

Organisations will add great strength to the call for legislation by engaging their workforce in the campaign.

The Goldfields Aboriginal Language Centre, which is running the campaign, is a small, grassroots organisation, and opening ally membership for individuals will most likely overwhelm the Centre’s capability. A single ally membership of an organisation can reach many people associated with that organisation.

What to do next?

Head to the WAALLA page on the Goldfields Aboriginal Language Centre’s website, phone on 9021 3788, email info@wangka.com.au or check out the WAALLA Facebook and LinkedIn pages.

First Nations language legislation creates strong, flourishing languages. First Nations language health is everyone’s business.

Come on, join in the call for WA State Aboriginal languages legislation! Join WAALLA!

WAALLA Campaign Membership Form

Ally Members