AGSA Kaurna yartangka yuwanthi. AGSA stands on Kaurna land.

Did you know that 90% of Australia's Indigenous languages are endangered?

For NAIDOC Week we have decided to feature Kaurna language, as ASGA stands on Kaurna land. With over 250 languages and 800 dialect varieties, language is one way we can recognise the cultural diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was endorsed by Australia in 2009 and includes:

  • Support for the development of literature and other creative works in spoken and written form.
  • Recognition of place and people names, access to government services including education and legal representation in first language.
  • Ensuring Indigenous peoples understand and communicate with government authorities in their first language using interpreters and other appropriate measures.

What Country do you live, work or study on? What is the traditional name of the place where you live?

John Mawurndjul and Kuninjku Language

In 2018 Tarnanthi featured a focus exhibition produced and presented in collaboration with the Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia, and Maningrida Arts and Culture, John Mawurndjul: I am the old and the new. Having been celebrated internationally for his ground-breaking approach to bark painting and dazzling radiance of his rarrk – a cross-hatching technique – John Mawurndjul: I am the old and the new spans four decades of paintings and sculptures by one of Australia’s greatest living artists.

John Mawurndjul was born in 1952 at Kubukkan near Marrkolidjban in Arnhem Land, to parents Anchor Kulunba (circa 1920–1996) and Mary Wurrdjedje (circa 1927–2017). Both are Kuninjku dialect speakers. Kuninjku is one of the dialects of Bininj Kunwok spoken around Maningrida and the lower Mann and Liverpool rivers, in Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory.

Kuninjku Glossary

Listen to Kuninjku words spoken by John Mawurndjul