Celebrating our language
Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are extremely diverse, each with its own cultural identity, expressed through our art – painting, craft skills, songs and dancing – and primarily through our stories and language.
Several indigenous languages are spoken in the Wujal Wujal region. The main one, the Kuku-Yalanji language and its dialects, are spoken by more than 500 residents, extending to Cooktown, Mossman and along the coastline to Cape York. You will mainly here our elders speaking the local language, but through our education and Indigenous Knowledge Centre programmes and events, our community encourages the younger generation to learn their language too.
Like all cultures worldwide, language is extremely important to our people. It is not just how we communicate day to day; it is how we describe our land and express our culture. Our language shapes our identity. It encapsulates our connection to country, our ancestral beliefs, history and values. And of course it is how we pass on our knowledge to future generations.
Language tells our history and hundreds of unique indigenous languages have been spoken for tens of thousands of years. Each group’s own specific dialect expresses their particular cultural identity and affirms a positive sense of self-esteem and spirit of community. The languages help us document our history through songlines and Dreaming stories.
Kuku bama balkaway (Talk language together)
See (nyajil), learn (binalmal) and practise (kala-babaji) some local words by downloading our Kuku-Yalanji dictionaries.