"The Role of Country and Self-Determination in Revitalisation."
The UNESCO Decade of Indigenous Languages (2022-2032) is a good opportunity for shining a light on language endangerment in Australia. In this paper, I argue that many causes of endangerment can be traced back to a relocation of speakers of Indigenous languages from their traditional land. A case in point is the endangered language Miriwoong. The analysis of a case study with the Miriwoong people will demonstrate that both their traditional educational practices and several current revitalisation projects rely on access to traditional Country. Miriwoong is no longer transmitted in natural contexts, i.e. it is not spoken and learned in the family home. Thus, in order to achieve the goal of countering endangerment, the community needs the support that Australian governments can provide via the mainstream education system. For such projects to be effective, self-determination needs to be part of any policies concerning formal education. This ensures that traditional beliefs and practices, such as teaching ‘on Country’, can be properly incorporated.