The cultural importance of language

Indigenous languages are an incredibly valuable part of the cultural heritage of communities around the world, and especially in Australia, where the oldest living cultures on the planet exist today. Languages form the unbroken cultural link, an oral history that passes from the beginning of time to the present day.

Languages are often the only way that certain stories, songs and cultural ways of Knowing, Being and Doing can be carried and handed down from one generation to the next. Sometimes there is just no translation available. Unfortunately, many Indigenous languages are critically endangered, meaning that they are at risk of disappearing completely.

This would be a huge loss for the communities affected and their enduring connection to culture and Country. An important determinant of health and wellbeing for Indigenous families is the strength of their connection to culture. There are some wonderful organisations and Indigenous peoples who are creating educational materials and children's books, offering language classes, and engaging in dialogue with communities to help revitalise language. By supporting these, we are helping to safeguard languages and culture for future generations.