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Yandeyarra Remote Community School students learn local Indigenous language from elders

Alexander ScottPilbara News
Yandeyarra Remote Community School students learning on-country.
Camera IconYandeyarra Remote Community School students learning on-country. Credit: Supplied/Department of Education/Department of Education

Students at a remote school in the Pilbara are learning the local Aboriginal language and culture as part of the school’s effort to preserve the language.

Yandeyarra Remote Community School is located 142km south-east of Port Hedland in the heart of the Mugarinya Community.

Its students are learning the local Aboriginal language and culture as part of a new school program to ensure language is preserved.

The program began late last term and involves students learning local languages, engaging with community elders, and taking part in on-country learning opportunities.

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Yandeyarra Remote Community School students learning on-country.
Camera IconYandeyarra Remote Community School students learning on-country. Credit: Supplied/Department of Education/Department of Education

The three main language groups in the area are Nyangumarta, Nyamal and Kariyarra.

The lessons focus on Nyangumarta, and the school aims to cover the other languages along the way.

Lessons are held every week by Yandeyarra RCS teacher Cindy Bin Omar, Ashburton Aboriginal Corporation Ngarla speaker Nora Cook, and local elders Gracie Coppin and Biddy Norman.

Yandeyarra Remote Community School principal Andrew Whiting said the program was responsive to the needs of the community and had received positive feedback from families and the community.

“Local Indigenous languages are at risk of fading into obscurity so if we have a chance to maintain and promote language by passing knowledge on to students, this can assist in their preservation,” he said.

“Formalising local language into a timetabled session gives students a chance to learn language in a structured way and hopefully gives them a sense of pride and confidence in language.”

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