Colonial bans on speaking Aboriginal languages meant only a handful of Kaurna words — the Indigenous language of South Australia’s Adelaide Plains — were still in common usage 50 years ago.
The Kaurna language and others are now being revived with the help of linguists and, for the first time, tailored training courses to help language learners pass their skills back to their communities.
Kaurna woman Taylor Power-Smith said learning words spoken by her ancestors, and being able to teach them to her community, had been a way to honour those who came before her.
“This is the greatest inheritance I’ll ever receive and I feel so strongly that fluency will be ours, and our babies will eventually be able to speak in our mother’s tongue,” she said.
She said despite her love of learning, the eradication of the language at the hands of colonial settlers was hard to forget.
“I have really sometimes struggled to balance the gratitude in having my language and the ability to learn it, and the deep sadness that I feel for my ancestors and my family who had it stripped off of them,” she said.
Read more: ABC News