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Puliima 2017 Wrap Up

THANK YOU 2019_PULiiMA 2019.jpg


Master of Ceremony

Once again we would like to thank not just our amazing Master of Ceremony, but this amazing person, Phillemon Mosby, for his most gracious presence in being the our MC throughout Puliima

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 Thank you


Our Delegates

This year the Puliima delegates increased with having over 300 people coming from far and wide – from all different parts of Australia and New Zealand, Canada and Hawaii.
It’s almost overwhelming to see Puliima growing, with heaps of new faces and having more international visitors – not only to attend the conference, but to be a part of our presenter’s line up as well.

Areas where delegates came from:

Australia and Torres Strait Islands
Ambeyang. Angkamuthi ,Arabana, Atambaya, Anaiwan, Wakka Wakka, Ngarrindjeri, Kalaw Kawaw Ya, Jiddabul, Bindal, Gathang, Boon Wurrung, Kunwinjku, Guugu Yimidhirr, Bundjalung, Gamilaraay Yuwaalaraay, Barngarla, Biripi, Boon Wurrung, Bularlhdja, Bulgun Warra, Dhanggati, Dharawal, Djabugay, Gugu Yalanji, Kulkalgau Ya, Djirrbal, Girramay, Gubbi Gubbi/Iningai, Guda Maluyligal, Gugada, Kokatha, Gumbayngirrr, Gunditjmara, Gungganji, Gurang, Keerray Woorroong, Kalkadoon, Kalkutungu, Kawrareg, Meriam Mir, Yugambeh, Kugu Uwanh, Wik-Mungkan, Kunjun, Kunwinjku, Warnman / Manyjilyjarra / Martu, Wangka, Mpakwithi, Kurtijar, Lambirra, Maluyligal, Ngandi, Ngarla, Yinhawangka, Kaurna, Narrungga, Ngemba, Wayilwan, Noongar, Northern Kaanju, Taribelang, Taungurung, Wajarri, Walmajarri, Warnindilyakwa, Warrgamay, Gurang, Wik-Alken, Wik Iiyanh, Wongatha, Worimi, Wotjobaluk, Wergaia, Jadawadjali, Kaantju/ Ayapathu

Canada, Hawaii, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea



Due to the huge success of the Monday-Tuesday workshops in 2015, they were held again this year to provide intensive training to a growing number of delegates. These workshops have grown immensely, seeing a major increase in the variety of workshops - from archiving valuable material to creating digital products. We also seen a massive increase of how many delegates attended and had interest in attending.
Below is a snippet of the workshops held over the two days.

OPTION 1: One workshop over two days

Create and Publish Amazing Books for iPad and Mac

Workshop facilitated by representatives from Apple Inc.

This two day workshop gave our delegates the chance to discover the exciting creative possibilities of Multi-Touch Books as language preservation tools.

Over the two days, delegates were taught the basic iBooks Author skills to help them create all new interactive Books, but also had the chance to create great digital versions of their existing work.

Delegates also learnt the power of book templates that they can use to produce multiple digital Books quickly and easily to support learning in First Australian languages in First Australian communities.

In this workshop, there were 25 participants, from 20 organisations, representing 36 different languages.



OPTION 2: Four workshops over two days

How to create optimal recordings in your own language

Facilitated by the Research Unit for Indigenous Language at the University of Melbourne

 In this workshop, delegates were shown, and were involved in using best practice techniques to make the most of the recording equipment that you have. Recording methods using both audio and video recorders were demonstrated, and how to edit these recordings using free open-source software.

This was also a chance to be shown best practice of data management: how best to name your files and organise them; what kind of information about your files you should be collecting and discussed some options available for archiving our collections.

In these workshops, there were 54 participants, from 28 organisations, representing 32 different languages.

 Creating language learning opportunities in our Indigenous languages

Held by Candace Kaleimamoowahinekapu Galla

 This workshop allowed participants to get involved in an immersive and language-rich environment that uses “funds of knowledge” to enhance Indigenous language learning.

Examples of micro-teaching methods were demonstrated in Hawaiian to highlight different teaching methods and ways to evaluate our learners.

In these workshops, there were 54 participants, from 28 organisations, representing 32 different languages.

Tyama-ngan koong meerreeng watnanda malayeetoo (We know, body and country together, long time) – How to use this language resource

A collaboration between Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages and La Trobe University

 In this workshop the trainers explained their model of language revival and how it can be used to understand all that has come together in the directions of your language program up till now.

Each participant received a large double-sided poster, tyama-ngan koong merreeng watnanda malayeetoo, which can be used as a tool for holistic language planning that is based on all the connections of your language journey.

This poster is an output of the Meeting Point/Typology project that Vicki Couzens, Christina Eira and Tonya Stebbins have been working on through the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages, and sometimes La Trobe University, from 2009-2016. The project aimed to find ways to document the language-in-process that is language revival, in its context, diversity and fluidity. In this way, they hoped to better understand this unique type of language, and assist all language revival practitioners to work more effectively with their languages and in collaborative projects between linguists and communities.

In these workshops, there were 54 participants, from 28 organisations, representing 32 different languages.

Language games and activities for in the classroom

Facilitated by representatives from Muurrbay Aboriginal Language and Culture Cooperative

This workshop demonstrated a range of age specific games and activities suitable for teaching an Aboriginal language, to add to a language teaching toolkit for teachers. Participants will gain an understanding of how, when and why language games and other activities can be used in the classroom to good effect, as well as acquiring new games and activities to have at their disposal in the classrooms.

The games and activities were broken up into two sections - Games for littlies (pre-school and primary school age range); Games for older students (high school and adults age range).

Games and activities are passed on more easily through demonstration than explanation and that was shown in this very hands-on workshop. The games and activities can be applied to any language, but was demonstrated using one of the languages from NSW, Gathang.

In these workshops, there were 54 participants, from 28 organisations, representing 32 different languages.


OPTION 3: Two workshops over two days

First steps in data management: How to inventory, assess, and safeguard un-archived language materials

Facilitated by representatives from ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language (ANU)

 This workshop was a practical, hands-on workshop designed to develop skills for organising language materials that have yet to be inventoried or archived.



Certain topics were discussed for short-term and long-term safeguarding of your material. This safeguarding involves keeping your materials safe from damage due to water, heat, magnetic interference, etc, and creating an inventory to track your materials and allow ongoing management until you are ready to archive with an institution or create a more local repository.


In these workshops, there were 26 participants, from 18 organisations, representing 16 different languages.
Using Powtoon: a free online tool for making animated videos

Facilitated by a representative from ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language (ANU)

 This workshop introduced delegates to the use of Powtoon, a free online tool for making fun and engaging animated videos up to five minutes in length. Hilary (trainer) has been using this over the last year to support the revival of Gamilaraay, a language of north NSW, through a language programme based at the Winanga-Li Aboriginal Child and Family Centre in Gunnedah.

In the workshop Hilary shared some lessons learned about making the most effective videos in the context we are working in. Workshop participants were able to consider how they might use the tool in their own situations, using the program’s free styles and incorporating participants’ own music, photos or artwork, voices, etc by creating their own small Powtoon clips.

A list of royalty-free resources were provided and by using a step-by-step guide, participants were able to plan and draft a Powtoon in the language they are working with.

In these workshops, there were 26 participants, from 18 organisations, representing 16 different languages.



“Investing” Vs “Divesting” In Cultural Wealth

Presented by Harold Ludwick from Hopevale Congress Rangers and Balkanu Community Development Corporation

Plenary Session

“Investing” or “Divesting” in your CULTURAL WEALTH will change the course of history in your cultural inheritance.

A strong language in your community is the catalyst to continued life of your cultural journey, from what it was 40 thousand years ago to where we are today.

Investment into language maintenance becomes your responsibility as an individual, this investment means passing from you to your children and family ... language, your inherited right. Our journey doesn’t end because we now speak English, actually being bilingual shows Traditional and Cultural ownership within our own bama estates, in this great country of ours.

The fundamentals to keeping our cultural connection to country, is language retention ... “THE INVESTMENT”

Fear that we all share, is that we lose connection to country, bush foods and kinship through “THE DIVESTMENT” ... many groups have been harmed through assimilation in which damaged their investment, revival of an important part of who you are can be done with determination of continued investment.

 Wangkiny Noongar Kwoppa Maaman: Using language in work on healthy Noongar Fathering

Presented by Len Collard and Dave Palmer from Murdoch University

Plenary Session

Noongar fathering practices continue to be greatly impacted on by a range of forces such as institutional child removal and introduction of Christianity, access to traditional lands and economies, forced language loss, the introduction of technologies and modern expressions of culture. At the same time, many Noongar men continue to be shaped by a renaissance of culture, language, and expressions of identity.

This presentation was focused upon a project that seeks to support the relationship between maamaniny (fathering) and wangkiny (language). It drawed upon filmed interviews with Noongar maaman (fathers) and included a background discussion of a series of workshops designed to incorporate a language and cultural approach to Aboriginal fathering work. The workshop started with the story of the Noongar Maaman Project, it described the role Noongar men have played in its design and development, explored the connection between Noongar wangkiny (language) and healthy fathering and offered participants a chance to geninniy (see) and birniny (pick through) the work as expressed in a short documentary.

 Enriching and expanding the expressive possibilities of language revival

Presented by Vicki Couzens and Kris Eira from Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages

Breakout Session

This breakout session offered a unique opportunity to work further and deeper on the grammar and vocabulary building arose through Deborah Cheetham’s Requiem Mass Project. This Project was developed by Ms Cheetham at the request of Gunditjmara Elders and she in turn invited Vicki into the Project to translate the Mass into Gunditjmara language. The Requiem Mass format was chosen by Deborah to offer acknowledgement and bring healing from the violence of encounters between Europeans and Gunditjmara Ancestors in their homelands. This Mass is a classical music performance work for solo, choir and orchestra. Vicki took up the challenge of translating the Requiem Mass text and in her turn, invited Kris Eira, Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages Community Linguist to collaborate. They have worked collaboratively for almost ten years in language reclamation.

Vicki and Kris embarked on a profound journey into deep translation processes for grammar and vocabulary building to meet the challenges of this powerful and evocative text. From this they emerged with an understanding of ways to enrich and expand the expressive possibilities of language in revival.

 Resource Network for Linguistic Diversity: The importance of building independence into language revitalisation projects

Presented by Andrew Tanner and Ebony Joachim from the Resource Network for Linguistic Diversity

Breakout Session

 This breakout session outlined the training and ongoing support that the Resource Network for Linguistic Diversity (RNLD) provides for Indigenous communities to work independently on their own language preservation projects.

RNLD’s ultimate mission is to empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to conduct their own language documentation and revitalization projects independently of outside assistance or direction. Their training to date has included working with individuals, family groups, community groups, language teams, language centre staff, staff of Indigenous organisations, art centres, traditional owner organisations, and also schools in strong language situations, revitalisation situations and reclamation language situations.

The DRIL Training Program offers skills in linguistics, teaching and learning methods (including the Master-Apprentice Language Learning Program which involves immersion teaching and learning), language documentation skills, technologies, resource creation and public awareness.

 National Placenames Project

Presented by Bruce Pascoe - Aboriginal Author

Breakout Session

Australia looks at the evidence of Aboriginal culture every day but has no idea it is doing so. Warragul, PULIIMA2017 123Maroochydore, Wagga, Kalgoorlie, Coober Pedy, Triabunna: our placenames are familiar and unknown at the same time.

First Languages Australia intends to unite Government, Community and Tourism to bring these names to life so all Australians can know their land BUT we want our people to benefit from this knowledge. We can find the name, design the sign, erect the sign, paint the sign and tell the story to tourists. This will be a boom industry. Let’s ensure. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are at the forefront of this new and lucrative industry.

 Pama language Centre: Working with speech communities to revitalise and maintain the languages of Cape York

Presented by Xavier Barker, Karin Calley, Jan Goetesson, Louise Ashmore, Agnes Mark, Lillian Bowen, Sandra Sebasio from the Pama Language Centre

Breakout Session

 Pama Language Centre was established to support First Nations of Cape York Peninsula, to arrest the decimation of Ancestral Languages. There is no ‘quick fix’ for language revitalisation and maintenance. Language revitalisation is a long-term goal. Language maintenance is an ongoing challenge.

PULIIMA2017 158Pama Language Centre work with speech communities to help develop resources and opportunities to support intergenerational transmission of Cape York Peninsula languages and oral literature.

Their projects are at various levels of maturity from salvage efforts, working with archival materials to delivering Ancestral-Language-As-Medium classes in both the community and within the formal education framework. They have a blend of traditional transmission methods as well as projects embracing new media and modern ideas. Contemporised traditional artforms also feature in their work.

This presentation showcased their work and shared some ideas for revitalisation projects and maintenance systems.

 Gabmididi Ngawala Barngarla Boogininya (Learning the Ancient Barngarla Language): The Making of the Barngarla Aboriginal Language Dictionary App

Presented by Stephen Atkinson, Emma Richards, Kaiden Richards, Darnell Richards, Kynan Hancock and Professor Ghil‘ad Zuckermann from the University of Adelaide

Breakout Session

 This presentation explored the reclamation and reconnecting of the Barngarla Nation to their ancient traditional Barngarla language after two generations of loss of language, and the making of the app, discussing the process of development and community usage. Two areas were highlighted:

(1) A Dictionary book written in 1844 by Clamor Wilhelm Schürmann, a German Lutheran missionary – in order to assist a missionary to connect and convert traditional Barngarla people and to also help the settlers communicate with the Barngarla people and end frontier wars – is now used, 170 years later, to assist the Barngarla Nation to reconnect with their heritage, culture and language.

(2) Technology, the Barngarla language App, how a dream became a reality, the Barngarla Nation along with community can now easily access their traditional language using modern technology. What was an idea mentioned from the beginning of the reclamation project 5 years ago has now become a reality, highlighting the power of networking, knowledge sharing and language discussions.

Ngarrindjeri for smarties (not Dummies) and for Smart Phones

Presented by Phyllis Williams, Mary-Anne Gale, Kelli Owen, Vicki Hartman, Georgina Trevorrow Adrian Barr and Lena Rigney from the Miwi-inyeri Pelepi-ambi Aboriginal Corporation

Breakout Session

PULIIMA2017 148Miwi-inyeri Pelepi-ambi Aboriginal Corporation (MIPAAC) representatives co-presented with Musica Viva about a new Phone App they have been developing together for the Ngarrindjeri language.

Accompanying this Phone App is a pocket size booklet, produced by MIPAAC, which was launched in July 2016 called “Ngarrindjeri for Smarties”. The booklet contains words and phrases in Ngarrindjeri to help Ngarrindjeri people plus schools learn and use the language for everyday purposes. It also contains Dreaming narratives, Placenames, Clan names, Totems names and much more.

The Phone App includes all that is in the booklet, plus interactive games, word pronunciations, and search functions that make the Ngarrindjeri language readily accessible, as well as fun to teach and learn.

From little things, big things grow: Working with partners First Languages Australia and ABC Regional

Presented by Faith Baisden, Geoff Anderson from First Languages Australia and Fiona Reynolds from ABC Regional

Breakout Session

This session highlighted the major projects that First Languages Australia will be collaborating on in the coming years, with a focus on how we can work with partners to achieve national goals with the limited resources available. The development of our ongoing relationship with ABC Regional will be detailed as an example of how these partnerships are fostered.PULIIMA2017 227

The ABC Regional management team co-presented to provide insight into the benefits of the collaboration from their perspective and look to the future for how language workers can work with their ABC producers to promote the work they are doing, increase language awareness in the ABC audience, and increase the amount of language broadcast.

Intergenerational, Interracial, and Trans-locational Collaboration for Language Revitalisation

Presented by Tsēma Tamara Igharas and Colleen Skubovius from the Dah Dzahge Nodeside Language Project, Tahltan Central Government

Breakout Session

This presentation was about intergenerational, interracial, and trans-locational collaboration for language revitalization, based on the Dah Dzahge Nodeside model.

As part of Dah Dzahge Nodeside, Tsēma contributes her artwork and design expertise for children’s books, the computer application and language tools. Louise contributes her experience as a retired teacher and current language learner. She has also created a series of creative language learning tools for schools and language nests. Amber is a Tāłtān ally who came to work with Dah Dzahge Nodeside after completing an internship transcribing the Tāłtān dictionary for her linguistics master’s degree. Since then, she has worked to gather data to build our computer app and she facilitates language classes at our local college. Together, they presented their language team’s accomplishments that can help other Indigenous groups facilitating language revitalization programs. They also discussed their challenges and successes of being members located away from Tahltan Territory, sometimes spread across the world, yet all working towards Tāłtān language revitalization.  

PULIIMA2017 210*The Tahltan are First Nations from the mountains of northwestern British Columbia in Canada and have occupied and protected their unceded territory since time immemorial.

Kaya Wandjoo Ngala Noongarpedia: Knowledge and language regeneration through the use of online pedias

Presented by Professor Leonard Collard and Jennie Buchanan from the University of Western Australia

Breakout Session

PULIIMA2017 229Noongarpedia, like other Web 2.0 platforms, provides an opportunity for people to not only consume knowledge produced by others (much the same way as books offer) but also become producers themselves. This has allowed the presenters to work with over a dozen schools, three university groups, a natural resource management organisation and the state library to draw Noongar and non-Noongar community into their work. By inviting and training people in how to become contributors to the site, they have been able to strengthen Noongar knowledge networks and communities.

In this session the presenters spoke about the work over the past three years and provided a practical demonstration of how Noongarpedia works, how you can create articles and edits, how you can upload your own images, audio and video clips. They gave the audience a chance to see how they might make use of a free, technologically supported platform like Noongarpedia in their work to strengthen language communities and honour the strong intellectual traditions that abound in Indigenous culture.

 State Library of Queensland and Community Access and Discoverability

Presented by Des Crump and Rose Warsow from the State Library of Queensland

Breakout Session

 Collecting institutions have a diverse range of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage materials in their PULIIMA2017 240collections. The dilemma for most institutions is how to make it accessible and discoverable for community members while at the same time building the capacity of community to research and manage their cultural heritage.

This presentation focused on how the State Library of Queensland has opened up their collections for community access, as well as building capacity in communities to not only research these materials, but create new knowledge to enhance community language revival.

Language Revitalisation in Aboriginal Languages Teacher Training

Presented by Lola Jones from the Department of Education, Western Australia

Breakout Session

In October 2015 Lola Jones undertook research into Indigenous Languages Revitalisation with First Nations people in Canada.

Some of the key findings from this research:PULIIMA2017 232
• Focus on building adult speakers in your community
• Individualise language revitalisation through reclaiming domains
• Language revitalisation as part of Aboriginal Languages Teacher Training
• Some tertiary institutions deliver initial training in community with local mentorship

Based on this research and taking into account the Western Australian situation of multiple languages and limited resources an additional block release has been created and changes have been made to the content in the Aboriginal Languages Teacher Training.

This breakout session gave the audience a chance to look at the challenges and success of these changes in training language teachers and impacts on language teaching.

Sharing Indigenous language and culture online – the Digital Shell project

Presented by Jill Nganjmirra and Seraine Namundja from the Bininj Kunwok Language Project and Cathy Bow from Charles Darwin University

Breakout Session

Developed initially to fill the gap in university-level courses in Australian Indigenous languages, the shell can also be adapted easily for other kinds of courses. It uses WordPress, a free and open-source content management system that is easy to use and can be customised to allow different looks and functionality to suit the purpose, and allows a variety of formats to be uploaded, including text, image, audio and video.
PULIIMA2017 235The digital shell was piloted with a four-unit introductory course in Kunwinjku, a language widely spoken in West Arnhem Land, Northern Territory. Under the authority of the Bininj Kunmayali Language Committee, resources were collected and created, and a curriculum was developed to introduce various aspects of Kunwinjku language and culture. Over 100 volunteer learners signed up to do the course, with very positive feedback.

This session presented the digital shell and some of the outcomes of the pilot project, the presenter also discussed opportunities for further adaptation and development for other language groups interested in sharing their knowledge in this way.

Speaking South Coast language as spoken by Elders

Presented by Kuh Cruse, Shaquille Aldridge, Osley Harrison and Ty Cruse from Aboriginal Culture Centre Monaroo Bobberrer Gudu- Eden

Breakout Session

 The presenters have been developing their language based on audio recordings of the community of the south coast from Eden to north of Nowra. Their aims are to respect the language knowledge held in the community and for the community to speak the language. This group from the Aboriginal Culture Centre Monaroo Bobberrer Gudu has developed a process of learning language through speaking and are keen to share these methods with other language revival groups around Australia.This presentation included a background to their language development, description of their methods and a short practical lesson in using one of these methods. The presenters spoke about their own experience of working in this project and their hopes for the future.
 Principles for developing resources for language revival

Presented by John Giacon from the Australian National University and Sydney University

Breakout Session

 PULIIMA2017 248Over the last 20 years a wide range of resources have been produced for Gamilaraay and Yuwaalaraay (GY). These include word books, theses, dictionaries, videos, phone app, computer dictionary, children’s books, Facebook pages, web sites, lesson notes, CDs and song texts, a teacher’s handbook and more. This presentation gave a brief summary of these resources and then considered the principals involved in developing and distributing the resources.

The principles include teamwork, making resources readily available, consistency across resources and keeping up with new developments such as new media and on-line platforms. The presentation evaluated some of the GY resources. In particular it considered the effectiveness and efficiency of resources in language revival. It also looked at gaps in the available resources. One obvious feature is the almost total absence of GY literature. This is true at all levels, from the earliest children’s readers to long texts. Finally, the presentation asked what structures support effective ongoing resource production.

 Opie goes to Ngukurr

Presented by Angelina Joshua, Grant Thompson, Gautier Durantin, Jonathan Taufatofua, Jackie van den Bos and Scott Heath from Ngukurr Language Centre

Breakout Session


In 2017, Ngukurr Language Centre and Guluman Child and Family Centre invited Opie to visit.PULIIMA2017 262

Ngukurr Language Centre has been working with the University of Queensland Information Technology and Electrical Engineering robotics lab, and the Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language on a project to create Opie, a child-friendly robot. Opie is designed to enhance children’s learning from technology, by making it a social activity. Children interact with Opie via a tummy-mounted tablet which runs language games.

In this presentation, Opie showed everyone some of the interactive language activities that were created during the visit. The presenters spoke about how the app that is used to create Opie’s language teaching material could be used to document stories, or to make your own language teaching resources for use in a classroom.
 Young Champions

Presented by Young Champions in conjunction with First Languages Australia

Plenary Session

 Members of the Young Champions group hosted a session to demonstrate the work that they are doing in their PULIIMA2017 281communities.

These demonstrations were short clips and PowerPoint presentations that highlight the young champions language activities, and future aspirations for themselves and their language.

 Working from a place of resilience: Hawaiian language, technology and the contemporary world

Candace Kaleimamoowahinekapu Galla from Department of Language & Literacy Education at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver

Plenary Session


Candace is an assistant professor in the Department of Language & Literacy Education at the University of British Columbia Vancouver. Her area of research includes the intersection of Indigenous language education, revitalisation, and digital technology, and more recently has become interested in language learning and performative arts, and language and wellbeing.PULIIMA2017 485

She received her MA in Native American Linguistics and a PhD in Language, Reading and Culture with a specialisation in Indigenous language revitalisation, education, and digital technology from the University of Arizona. Candace’s presentation highlighted the resurgence of the Hawaiian language, Hawaiian medium education, and the role of multimedia technologies in language learning and teaching.

 If Aboriginal people invented society, bread and agriculture the chances are they also invented language

Bruce Pascoe - Aboriginal Author

Plenary Session

 PULIIMA2017 513

Australia explains its dispossession of Aboriginal people on the grounds that no use was made of the soil. The explorer’s witness of large-scale agriculture has been suppressed.

What might happen if Australia really begins to understand its history, the land and the fact that the First Australians invented bread, art, society and most probably language? This revolution will begin soon.

 Cooks Legacy - The Endeavour Journals

Presented by Alberta Hornsby - Director of North Queensland Regional Aboriginal Language Centre & Loretta Sullivan - Chairperson of the Cooktown Re-enactment Association

Breakout Session


In 2020 Cooktown will join with other nations to celebrate Cooks 1st voyage from England in 1768, across the Pacific and in 1770 the journey along the East Coast of Australia, before returning to England.PULIIMA2017 523

Captain Cook is not the most celebrated explorer by the first Nations Peoples of Australia, however, we have discovered that the Endeavour Journals by Cook, Banks and Sydney Parkinson recorded the first account of contact with the Endeavour river Guugu Yimithirr Bama.

From this record we have an insight of the culture, law, language and spiritual beliefs of our forefathers that was vital to the survival of Cook and the Endeavour Crew.

 Cultural Language Technology

Presented by Lynette Ackland and Estelle Miller from the Ceduna Aboriginal Corporation - Far West Languages Centre

Breakout Session


In 2005 Far West Languages Centre (FWLC) assisted Mrs Miller to develop a hard copy resource with CD which incorporated a Cultural Activity which was accompanied by both English and Wirangu Language to follow the story. In 2015/2016 FWLC followed through using technology of video and computers to develop a short film and iBook of the same content.PULIIMA2017 525

The short film gives some cultural background as well as Wirangu Language being repeated within the short film so that persons watching will learn the language but also the culture of the Ceduna region.

Ceduna Aboriginal Corporation has also developed the same short film version for 2 other language groups which show a cultural activity with language accompanying the activity.

 Evaluating digital tools for endangered languages

Presented by Cathy Bow from Charles Darwin University

Breakout Session


PULIIMA2017 529Large amounts of money are spent on developing digital technologies for supporting endangered language work, for language learning, documentation, archiving, promotional and other purposes. Yet little is done on evaluating these tools to identify if they met the goals they set out to achieve, and if they deliver on the promise for which they were funded.

Evaluation is not a simple process – there are several different aspects that can be focused on and criteria to be considered.  There are basic questions of functionality (does it do what it’s supposed to do?) and usability (can people use it to do what they need to do?), and digging further into questions of usefulness (does it do something that couldn’t be done before?), impact (what has changed as a result of having this tool?), uptake (who is using it?) and value (could the funding have been better spent elsewhere?). It is also important to consider a range of different perspectives (Indigenous authorities, community members, educational users, non-Indigenous users, funding bodies, etc).

In this presentation, Cathy Bow presented some of the issues involved in evaluating digital tools and she discussed some strategies for undertaking such evaluation.

 Muurrbay: A brief history from two perspectives

Presented by Ricky Buchanan and Gary Williams from Muurrbay Aboriginal Language and Culture Co-operative

Breakout Session


 PULIIMA2017 545

This presentation was facilitated by Ricky Buchanan, with the CEO Gary Williams, in reviewing the history of Muurrbay and its changing role in the development of NSW languages and Aboriginal language education.

This was a presentation that showed perspectives from both sides. From a community member involved in teaching and research at Muurrbay during that time, and from a former consultant at the NSW Education Department during the introduction of the Aboriginal languages syllabus, who relied heavily on Muurrbay staff for advice and support. It will explore the changing role of the organisation over time.

 Torres Strait Traditional Languages Strategy

Presented by Cygnet Repu, Lizzie Lui and Dana Ober - Members of the Torres Strait Traditional Languages Advisory Committee

Breakout Session

PULIIMA2017 549This breakout session provided an insight into the journey of the
Torres Strait region in revitalising and 
maintaining their traditional languages to achieve their vision “Our people speak and use our traditional languages on a daily basis for our culture, our well-being and our spirit.”

 Ajamurnda: Anindilyakwa Digital Collection Catalogue

Presented by David Nathan, Melanie Collins, Judy Lalara, Sylvia Tkac, Carol Wurramara and Carolyn Fletcher from Groote Eylandt Language Centre


Breakout Session


PULIIMA2017 542Groote Eylandt (Northern Territory) is the home of the Anindilyakwa people and their language, one of the most thoroughly spoken of all Australian languages. The island’s Aboriginal communities and organisations aim to maintain and defend their language against the threats posed by increasing dominance of English and the encroachment of other languages such as Kriol and Yolngu Matha. To achieve this goal, the Groote Eylandt Language Centre is taking a number of steps, including bridging the past, present and future by building a digital catalogue and collection of language and cultural materials. Development is based around three main pillars:

(a) a legacy collection of language, cultural and historical materials - manuscripts, photos and tapes, many of which are being digitised - containing stories, dictionary and linguistic descriptions, and ethnographic and environmental knowledge

(b) Ajamurnda, an innovative digital catalogue to support access to the legacy and newly created materials, especially for Anindilyakwa community members

(c) an ongoing participatory framework, based around a customised type of “crowdsourcing”, to encourage and enable community members to enrich the collection by adding information in their own terms

The presentation explained the background, goals, design and building of a new, innovative digital collection catalogue “Ajamurnda” primarily aimed at enabling Anindilyakwa community members to access language and cultural resources and to contribute their own information to make the collection richer for current and future generations. The design and system will place particular emphasis on meeting strong local cultural, linguistic and protocol values and priorities.

 A Holistic Approach to Revitalising our Anaiwan Language

Callum Clayton-Dixon - a founding member of the Anaiwan Language Revival Program

Breakout Session


In April 2016 members of the local Aboriginal community established the Anaiwan Language Revival Program. We have been left with little more than fragments of our ancestral tongue due to the wholesale dispossession of Indigenous land, life and liberty on the New England Tableland. In the face of this seemingly bleak predicament, we identified and acted on the need for a concerted, community-based and community-driven Anaiwan language revitalisation effort.

Our focus at this point is developing the Anaiwan Language Knowledge Book, including the first comprehensive dictionary and grammar, based on all available archival material.

This process involves identifying and analyzing the data we have collected, from its morphological features to dialectal variation. Parallel to and interconnected with the Anaiwan Language Knowledge Book project, we are developing a decolonial approach to the revitalisation of a dormant Aboriginal language.

This holistic approach is two-pronged: addressing the roles of non-Anaiwan people, organisations (including universities) and governments in supporting the revitalisation of our language; and developing a framework for Anaiwan people to decolonise our language, reinstating its fundamental role in our relationship with kin and country.

 Language activities and well-being: What are the links?

Presented by representatives from First Languages Australia

Breakout Session


First Languages Australia is encouraging the gathering of evidence including stories and data that show the links between language activities and individual well-being.

‘Mayi Kuwayu: The longitudinal study of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and well-being’ were invited to be part of the panel.

This Indigenous research team will undertake the first national survey early next year and is keen to have language centres involved in the delivery.

The panel also included a selection of language workers who are working at the intersection of languages and community health.

 Developing a Maori language pronunciation tool based on user feedback

Presented by Peter J Keegan from the University of Auckland

Breakout Session


The MAONZE project (Māori and New Zealand English) uses recordings from three sets of speakers to track changes in the pronunciation of Māori and evaluate influences from English. The first group of speakers were born in the late nineteenth century and recorded mostly in 1946-48. The second group of speakers are kaumātua/kuia (elders) born between 1920 and 1940, and the third group are young speakers born between 1970 and 1990. Results from the MAONZE project show changes in both vowel quality and vowel duration (for all age groups and both genders) and evidence of diphthong mergers especially amongst the younger speakers.

In this presentation Peter briefly demonstrated a computer-based tool that assists advanced learners and L2 teachers of Māori to improve their own pronunciation of Māori. Three major versions of the tool have been developed and trialled with real users in 2015, 2016 and 2017. The tool allows users to get real time feedback on their own pronunciation of individual vowels, diphthongs and commonly mispronounced Māori words. It also allows users to listen to and compare their pronunciations with ‘gold standard’ pronunciations of elder males or elder females by drawing on the speaker database developed by the MAOZNE project. Peter described developing and trialling several phases of the tool, focusing on changes made to the aid and additional features added due to trial results and user feedback. He will conclude with a discussion of issues of online tool development for indigenous communities.

 Wake up CALL!

Presented by Maree Klesch from Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education - Centre for Australian Language and Linguistics

Breakout Session


The Centre for Australian Languages and Linguistics (CALL) Collection is an archive of Australian First Nation’s languages materials, collected over the past 40 years at Batchelor Institute. In this presentation we spoke about the history of the collection and how the materials have been deposited by students, staff and linguist in trust for preservation and safe keeping. The Collection comprised of languages from across Australia including, text, audio and video recordings, with the majority of the Collection aimed at teaching First Nation’s Languages.

The Collection team have worked with a number of Indigenous organisations and remote communities to design and build a database and website to make the materials available, and to be able to digitally repatriate the materials back to community. The database includes a permission strategy that encompasses First Nation’s ICIP and Western law to ensure integrity in the management and distribution of materials.

 Developing online resources for Arabana language

Presented by Veronica Arbon and Eleanor McCall from the Mobile Language Team – Adelaide

Breakout Session


Arabana is a language from the Western Lake Eyre region with only a handful of active speakers remaining. The community has identified a need for language programmes which are accessible to Arabana people living in centres as widespread as Adelaide, Port Augusta, Cooper Pedy, Alice Springs, Sydney and Darwin.

This presentation was an opportunity to see the online database and interactive e-lessons in action and learn more about the processes involved in their development.


Australia’s Got Language Talent Contest 2017

On Wednesday 18th October, the Pool deck at the Pullman International, Cairns, was where the Australia's Got Language Talent Contest was held - and it was a night to remember! The event was opened up by AshAnn, from Kuranda, North Queensland and their performance was the perfect mood setter for the night.

Once again, Australia’s Got Language Talent Contest was hosted by Philemon Mosby from the beautiful Torres Strait Islands. This competition has been inspired by talent programs such as; X Factor, Australia's Got Talent and Australian Idol to highlight the deadly talents of our mob - performing in Aboriginal Language, whether it’s with music, dancing, singing or comedy.

Our judges for the night were Cygnet Repu from the Torres Strait, Robert McClellan from Queensland, Ebony Joachim from Victoria and Joy Bonner from Queensland. Audience participation was highly encouraged. With a total of 9 acts, each was limited to 5 minutes with bonus points awarded for creative entertaining uses of Aboriginal language in a live performance.

Delegates representing Nations around Australia include Gungganji, Gugu Yalanji, Ngandi, Palawa kani, Dijiyagan Dhanbaan, Guugu Yimidhirr, Wik-mungkan and community members from Injinoo, Maningrida and Aurukun.

Click here to view the Australia's Got Language Photo Gallery

Congratulations to:

First – The Aunties from Aurukun

Second – Lola Jones and 'we dont have ya names, tell us'

Third – Chelsea Atkins

Other deadly participants were:

Sister Trio

Grant Mathumba Thompson

The Deadly Nana’s

Ladies from Muurrbay

Stephanie James

Lillian Bowen




Our range of exhibitors this year complimented the Puliima Forum well. We had a wide range of exhibitors this year – from grass root organisations displaying their own work, to language centres with national projects, to audio and visual equipment on show, to University level qualifications on offer in this country.

Highlights included Ngukurr Language Centre with Opie the Robot, Muso’s Corner with their range of audio and visual recording equipment, Charles Darwin University with information on diploma courses on offer. Another great display was hosted by First Languages Australia, who had resources on display and invited people to get involved in their current national project – with the Gambay map.

It continues that fire in the belly when we see what others are doing with their language and sharing the experiences of what’s working and what’s not.



First Languages Australia


First Languages Australia works to ensure that the wishes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members are voiced in key decision-making processes that impact on the current and future management of their languages. This will in turn shape the survival of Australia's traditional languages into the future.

The organisation facilitates discussions between communities and the government and key non-government partners whose work affects, or could affect, Australia's Indigenous languages.

By supporting communication within the language network, First Languages Australia works to help colleagues share their experience, resources and expertise and to encourage sustainable partnerships that support the broad spectrum of   Indigenous language endeavours.

Click here for more information on First Languages Australia

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Charles Darwin University


Charles Darwin University (CDU) is a dual-sector university, which means we offer a full spectrum of education and training opportunities in Higher Education (HE) and Vocational Education and Training (VET). (LINK-

The Office of Learning, Teaching and Community Engagement supports the University in providing a properly coordinated institution-level approach to:

·         academic quality assurance and planning

·         professional development in teaching and learning

·         professional production of learning materials and adoption of learning technologies.

To create quality learning and teaching, CDU ensures there is more personalised attention given to students with its ability to offer smaller-class sizes and a low student-to-teacher ratio – about one teacher to every 15-20 students.

Click here to find out more about Charles Darwin University


Muurrbay Aboriginal Language and Culture Co-Operative


Muurrbay is a leading regional language centre that provides strategic support to revitalise the languages of seven Aboriginal communities of central to north coast NSW.

We work closely with Elders and local language, culture and educational organisations to conduct research, publish accessible grammar–dictionaries and develop engaging educational courses and resources.

To find out more about Muurrbay do, click here.


Centre for Australian Languages and Linguistics


The Centre for Australian Languages and Linguistics (CALL) is a language centre based in the Division of Higher Education and Research at Batchelor Institute. CALL provides a service to community teams, supporting their work on language projects. This work includes language recording and documentation, publication, training, research, and resource development for language learning.

CALL has a long history of teaching and research in Indigenous Languages – a tradition which has built upon the foundational work of the School of Australian Linguistics through the 1970s and 1980s. CALL collaborates with communities throughout the Northern Territory and Western Australia, and also with language initiatives across Australia.

To find out more about what CALL do, click here.


Muso’s Corner


While they are the leaders in music equipment, it was a great opportunity to have Muso's Corner showcasing the wide range of Zoom audio and video recording products they also have available.

It was appreciated by many to learn what kind of equipment is available to assist us in our language conservation projects and reclamation efforts.

Click here to visit the Muso’s Corner website.


Ngukurr Language Centre with Opie the Robot


The Ngukurr Language Centre is a small, independent, non-profit organisation. The goal of the Ngukurr Language Centre is to revitalise, document, teach and promote the traditional languages of the community via a range of community-based language programs.

In collaboration with the University of Queensland, School of ITEE, the team designed a social robot inspired by Opie to be used in the community.

The robot is designed to be easily transportable and robust. It includes language activities (games, stories) for the children to play in their heritage language, built using the Language Centre resources. With only a limited number of language teaching hours, we hope that this robot will help increase the exposure of children to their heritage language.

To find out more about Ngukurr Language Centre and Opie, click here.


Binabar Books


Binabar Books publishes a range of colourful children’s story books which incorporate Aboriginal languages in the text to help young ones begin to learn a traditional Australian language. The books are proving popular for a wide range of educational programs as a way of introducing language and cultural studies in the early years, prep to lower primary.

Click here to find out more about Binabar Books




TAFE NSW is Australia's leading provider of vocational education and training with over 500,000 enrolments each year.

Our ambition is to be the brand in global demand to build skills for success in today's and tomorrow's world.

TAFE NSW offers the best of campus-based delivery as well as flexible, online and work-based learning.

Collaboration, diversity and the strong relationships between our locations contribute to and magnify the value of TAFE NSW and importantly, the benefits that we deliver to communities and the economy of NSW.

To find out more about the courses TAFE NSW offer, click here.


Nomad Printing


Nomad Printing, formerly known as Printingasia-Australia, has for the past 8 years serviced the Australian Printing Industry.

In that time they have traversed this great landscape servicing smaller, neglected publishing companies introducing not only our expertise in conventional printing but also that of sound printing. The latter has led to the production of many glorious Aboriginal language and story books.

Our relationship with the Aboriginal Community was fostered with our attendance at the very first Puliima Conference in Melbourne back in 2009, where we were fortunate to meet with so many interesting people, from truly remote locations.

To find out more about Nomad Printing, click here.


North Queensland Regional Aboriginal Corporation Languages Centre


The North Queensland Regional Aboriginal Corporation Language Centre (NQRACLC) is set up to help facilitate workshops, lessons, publications, and revival of Aboriginal Languages in the regions that we cover. We assist by holding meetings with key people and elders within the tribe and clans, facilitating dialogue, planning and organising workshops and lessons.

Aims of NQRACLC are:

·         Support the maintenance revival, and development of indigenous languages

·         Increase the use of indigenous languages in a range of fields and media

·         Support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ in engagement with their languages

·         Promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander wellbeing by strengthening pride in identity and culture through languages

·         Promote public appreciation of indigenous languages

To find out more about NQRACLC, click here