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Torres Strait Language Advisory Group Hold First Meeting

Traditional language speakers gathered at the Gab Titui Cultural Centre to discuss the preservation of culture and language this week following the Torres Strait Regional Authority’s (TSRA) second Language Symposium.

The advisory group, which consisted of members from the five language groups in the Torres Strait, came together to recognise the TSRA’s commitment to contributing to the revitalisation and maintenance of traditional cultural practices among communities, with a clear and practical strategy.

The TSRA Acting Chairperson, Mr Jerry Stephen, said the advisory meeting addressed the critical status of traditional languages of the Torres Strait.

“The Language Advisory Group met with partners from YUMI Education and Tagai State College to discuss their roles in planning and developing a Regional Language Centre,” Mr Stephen said.

“Yumi Education are currently developing a website and conducting audits in the outer islands of the Torres Strait, while Tagai State College are leasing a facility to the group for the next three years at Yangu Pawaw Ngurpay Mudh, the college’s existing Language and Culture Centre.”

This came about after the second biennial Torres Strait Language Symposium, themed Our Languages Matter that was held at the beginning of May 2017.

The Symposium brought together delegates from across the Torres Strait to build on the foundations laid out in the first symposium.

Mr Stephen said that the key outcome for the second symposium was to achieve the objectives identified in the language plan.

“During the Symposium, the initial reference group was disbanded and the formation of the new Language Advisory Group took place, to steer the plan and set up the Regional Language Centre, constitution and community elected Board,” Mr Stephen said.

“It is very good that young people were involved alongside the custodian and keepers of our language, this gives me great expectations about the future of our languages.

“The Symposium’s theme aligns with the 2017 NAIDOC theme of the importance, resilience and richness of Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal languages and developed a plan to preserve and honour our traditional cultural practices.”

The Language Advisory Group will be holding future meetings on Torres Strait outer island communities to generate discussion around the language plan and charter.

The Language Advisory Group consists of nine members from the Torres Strait language clusters: Mr Cygnet Repu- Mabuyag, Mr Dana Ober- Kalaw Kawaw Ya, Mr Alo Tapim – Meriam Mir, Ms Louise Manas- Kawrareg, Mrs Lizzie Lui- Kulkalgau Ya, Benjamin Mabo Junior- Meriam Mir, Aven Noah- Meriam Mir, Maria Tapim – Meriam Mir and Gabrial Bani- Mabuyag.

The language symposium is a key initiative of the TSRA’s Culture, Art and Heritage Programme, managed by the Cultural Development Officer, and supported by the event coordination services of Miromaa Aboriginal Language and Technology Centre.

Torres Strait Islanders and Aboriginal people are advised this website may contain names, images and recordings of people who have passed.