Near or Far

Our Culture

Added by First Languages Australia

Description According to Suellyn Tighe, a Gamilaraay woman from Coonabarabran, the modern Aboriginal story is a difficult one.

To keep her language current, to keep Aboriginal youth engaged, she believes we need to present her language in a modern day setting whilst maintaining the connection to the past.

Suellyn originally wrote the poem, Near or Far, for her grandchildren. It’s about reconnecting a young Aboriginal girl to the language of the land and the richness of the Gamilaraay culture. It begins with a young Aboriginal girl (Briarna) in a town setting drawn to an older Aboriginal woman in a bush setting (Suellyn) who is reciting a poem (Near or Far) in Gamilaraay. The voice connects them through this sacred meeting place to the modern day.

The Kamilaroi or "Gamilaroi" are an Indigenous Australian Murri people. Gamilaraay country stretches from Coonabarabran (NSW) in the south, north to Boggabilla, to Tamworth in the east and Walgett in the west.

Suellyn has taught Gamilaraay within communities and educational arenas across the Gamilaraay nation. Rather than tell people how to speak the language she likes to show people the language.

Producer/Camera/Editor: Alison Plasto
Animation: Chris Lewis
Executive Producer: Ian Walker

This video was originally contributed to the ABC Open Mother Tongue project, which invited Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to share a story about their mother tongue.

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