Wangka Walytja Warara - First Language First

This year marks a significant milestone: 50 years of bilingual education and first language first in Utju, Northern Territory.

It's a testament to the hard work and dedication of individuals like Tarna Andrews and many others who fought tirelessly to continue to teach two-way learning.

During our most recent storytelling program, the community reflected on the rich history of bilingual education in Utju. Kira Voller, singer and Red Dust team member shared her thoughts: “First Nations People have passed down stories through song since the beginning of time, providing an opportunity for such a special intergenerational whole community song/project that highlights the importance of first language first is empowering and leaves a sense of identity, belonging & connection for the Utju community”.

During the creation of the music video, ‘Wangka Walytja Warara’, local leaders Tarna, Lucynda, and Christine, together with the students at Areyonga School, explored Utju's history and culture. Through this process, it instilled a sense of pride in the group, which resonates throughout the song's lyrics that are sung in Pitjantjatjara. The lyrics serve as a powerful reminder of the vital role of learning in language, preserving the community's culture and identity, and celebrating the last 50 years of bilingual education.

Students showcased their talents through singing, rapping, and dancing. Filming took place on-Country at locations such as Helicopter Hill and Munta Munta. Additionally, some of the senior students had the opportunity to learn how to fly a drone and capture footage that is now included in the music video.

To conclude the week, a community barbeque was held, followed by the premiere of the music video "Wangka Walytja Warara." The celebration continued with live music from the James Range Band.  

We're excited to announce that the music video will be showcased at the upcoming National PULiiMA Indigenous Conference, on August 23rd. In the meantime, it is available for viewing on YouTube.

Lastly, we would like to acknowledge all the teachers and community members who have fought to keep first language learning alive.  

“My favourite part about the week was making a great song.”

- Program participant

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