Before European settlement, Indigenous Australians spoke an estimated 250 different languages. Today, schools teaching their language of country are finding students are more likely to engage with contemporary Aboriginal issues.
Young High School in rural NSW is one of a growing number of high schools around Australia teaching an Indigenous language.
The students and staff at Young High say learning Wiradjuri, the language of country, not only keeps the language alive but is having some remarkable effects on the students and wider community.
It’s about learning the history of the people who spoke that language. It also makes students more interested in contemporary Aboriginal issues.
If the 2016 Census data is anything to go by, people are increasingly willing to self-identify as Aboriginal -- and Young High attests to that.
Of the school's 120 Year 7 students, about 30 of them identify as Aboriginal – that’s double what it was just three years ago.
Learning a language isn’t only about learning how to communicate with someone who speaks that language. It’s about learning the history of the people who spoke that language. It also makes students more interested in contemporary Aboriginal issues.
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