Noeline helping retain language

NOELINE Briggs-Smith, OAM, has been acknowledged for her work on the steering committee of a new Local Land Services (LLS) educational book called Speaking Our Way.

Ms Briggs-Smith said she was proud of the resource featuring a collection of Aboriginal languages of the NSW Northern Tablelands.

“I have an association with both my cousin, the author Bernadette Duncan and also Harry White whom I worked with when he was supervisor of the Moree Cemetery Project in 1995 with Moree Plains Shire Council,” she said.

Her knowledge for the publication Speaking Our Way was sought last year after having the experience of publishing three books on the Kamilaroi previously.

“Our Gamilaraay language was supressed in the past and it gave me great pleasure to see the other languages in New South Wales revitalised through the Northern Tablelands LLS.

“It can now be a valuable resource in Aboriginal language education.

Ms Briggs-Smith attended a launch day on November 10 in Inverell to celebrate publishing the resource.

“Students from Moree Secondary College’s Carol Avenue campus also travelled to Inverell for the launch. Language is identity and by teaching our youth these languages not only gives them greater knowledge on their past but also identity of their ancestors,” she said.

“The great thing is there are still people able to speak and teach the language and this book will assist children to learn. If you want to name a building or know the meaning of an Aboriginal word this book is perfect. It’s a great resource for anyone to use.”

Ms Briggs-Smith said she was also proud of her cousin Bernadette Duncan for becoming an author.

“It’s so great for me because now there are two Duncan’s that are published authors of our language that our descendants of Terry Hie Hie spoke. “My gran, uncles and aunts could all speak it. Even though it was suppressed they all spoke it in private.”

Northern Tablelands LLS chair, Hans Hietbrink, said the book was integral to carrying the knowledge of traditional language spoken by the people of Aboriginal Nations within the region.

“The words have traditionally been used in song, conveying messages of hope, inspiration and story-telling. For the first time in our region, a dictionary is available for everyone,” he said.