Spreading a love of cultural learning

GETTING BACK TO LANGUAGE: Christian Lugnan, Fiona Webb, Hayley Groom, Jonathan Cassell, Clark Webb holding Taylar Webb, Uncle Barry and Dallas Gittins.
GETTING BACK TO LANGUAGE: Christian Lugnan, Fiona Webb, Hayley Groom, Jonathan Cassell, Clark Webb holding Taylar Webb, Uncle Barry and Dallas Gittins. Claudia Jambor

LEARNING the language of the Gumbaynggirr is bringing together more than just the Coffs Coast's indigenous community.

From primary school kids to adults, the all-age classes are run by co-ordinator Clark Webb on Thursday mornings at the Wongala estate.

Practical and centred on community, the classes adopt a unique language learning approach developed by a language expert from the US.

Student Fiona Webb said the classes were in line with traditional values.

"I think it makes it very community-focused. It's just learning our language that's the bottomline," Ms Webb said.

The knowledge Dallas Giddins has gained from the class has enabled her to tutor Gumbaynggirr to primary students.

"The kids are now saying ginnagay in the supermarket, that's is lovely," she said.

Christian Lugnan said learning the language of his ancestors was a great achievement.

"It's empowering, it makes you feel good, you're learning your language and you know your ancestors spoke this language and we are just continuing that," Mr Lugnan said.

As non-indigenous people, Hayley Groom and Jonathan Cassell are learning the traditional language to learn more about indigenous culture.

"I'm non-indigenous so for me I feel really privileged to be apart of it," Ms Groom said.

"I want to be able to communicate with the community and learn about local culture."

For Mr Cassell, it's a way towards what reconciliation with indigenous peoples.

"For me, this is about cross-cultural learning and being able to understand what makes Australia such a unique place."

"I think Australia has a lot to gain from indigenous culture and knowledge and being aware,"

Topics:  coffs coast culture gumbaynggirr indigenous australia language

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