Tradition continues through language

Cally Dupe
Miriwoong engagement officers Rosa and Rita Boombi with Language Nest Facilitator Stephanie Woerde and children Brodie Worrigal, 4, Christopher Winton, 4, and Remy Blunden, 2.

It is thousands of years old and one of the world's oldest, but the Miriwoong language has almost been forgotten.

The Mirima Dawang Woorlab-gerring Language and Cultural Centre in Kununurra is trying to revive the local dialect by teaching it to young children.

More than 200 students are learning basic Miriwoong each week through the centre's Language Nest Program.

The program made inroads into three local childcare centres in March this year and has now extended into pre-primary and kindergarten classes at St Joseph's School and Kununurra District High School.

Students are taught by a team of Miriwoong language engagement officers with the support of Language Nest facilitator Stephanie Woerde.

Ms Woerde said while the Aboriginal language was yet to be formally introduced into Australian schools, she had experienced a great response by students and teachers so far.

She also said it was often the students who were leading the way with the Miriwoong language. "Often we have children who pick up on it so fast, they are saying the words before we can get them out," she said.

The program now has five partners - Save the Children's mobile play-scheme, the Gawooleng Yawoodeng Centre, CSSU Early Learning Centre and the two schools.