Indigenous language program recognised in state awards


Victoria Stone-Meadows


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THRILLED: Mossman State School representatives at the awards night in Brisbane with Indigenous elderNorm Tayley, KYLAG member Merindi Schreiber, Sharon Case, Suzanne Grant from Schools Plus, and Department of Education representative Suzanne Burford. Image: Supplied.

An indigenous language program at Mossman State School has been recognised with two awards at the Queensland Reconciliation Awards.

The 'Respect and Consultation: Honouring Kuku Yalanji Language' program at Mossman State Primary School was awarded the Partnership Award and the overall Premier’s Reconciliation Award.

Head of Teaching and Learning at Mossman State School, Sharon Case, said the school is thrilled to have their work rewarded.

“We are very proud, humbled and excited; it acknowledges the hard work of the school and the Indigenous community here in Mossman,” she said.

“It has been very much a partnership all the way through, we have worked with Kuku Yalanji Language Advisory Group (KYLAG) to develop the program.

“The award we won was for the partnership with that group and while awards don’t mean a big thing for us, it does recognise the hard work of everybody and the importance of that partnership.”

Ms Case said the program has given students a strong sense of belonging and helped to boost engagement in the classroom for the last few months.

“It’s very early days but the kids love it and the results are so multifaceted,” she said.

“It’s built a great relationship between the school and the community that filters down to the kids.

“It’s a big thing for us and it’s about building and developing the cultural identity of our Indigenous students and encouraging them to be proud of their culture.”

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the program is a prime example of community and schools working together to achieve reconciliation. 

“2019 is the United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages and this program exemplifies how healing and learning can come from restoring languages and sharing culture,” she said.

“Acknowledging our history and valuing the knowledge of Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples is key to our reconciliation journey.

“I congratulate Mossman State School and Kuku Yalanji Language Advisory Group for their commitment to nurturing a true partnership that has such positive outcomes for their community.”

The Premier said the Queensland Reconciliation Awards celebrated businesses, community organisations, educational institutions, and partnerships that were taking positive steps towards reconciliation across the state.

“My congratulations go to this year’s category winners for their contributions to reconciliation in Queensland and for their role in strengthening our communities,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

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