VIDEO: Rocky students to learn Darumbal language at school

SHARING CULTURES: Darumbal elder Nhaya Nicky Hatfield has been sharing her culture with Rockhampton students and is pleased that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages will now be taught in schools across Australia.
SHARING CULTURES: Darumbal elder Nhaya Nicky Hatfield has been sharing her culture with Rockhampton students and is pleased that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages will now be taught in schools across Australia. Allan Reinikka Rokadarumba

DARUMBAL elder Nhaya Nicky Hatfield doesn't care who you are or what colour your skin is; if she has the opportunity to teach you about her culture and language, she will.

Nhaya Nicky has waited years for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages to be taught in schools across Australia and on Wednesday the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority announced they would do just that.

The Aboriginal elder has been sharing her people's culture with Crescent Lagoon students for eight years now and takes pride in knowing Darumbal culture will be kept alive through those younger generations.

Nhaya Nicky said she had taught from prep to Year 12 over the years and found parents wanted their children to learn about Aboriginal culture.

"About 95% out of attitudes were positive. We get a few negative ones saying why do we have to learn this, how are our kids going to use this when they're older, but they are really not looking at the big picture," she said.

"Even our own people used to say students learn Japanese and French, why can't they learn Aboriginal language and I said to them, well what you're saying is a good thing but we have to put our language there for them to use."

Nhaya Nicky said teaching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture throughout Australian schools would benefit Australia.

"It's about closing that gap, it's about reconciliation… in the end it's the benefit for Australia, we will become a better country if we can all come together."

Nhaya Nicky said she was privileged to have grown up in such a culturally rich area, a place which her ancestors once lived too.

"I was very privileged to grow up in this area, out in the bush of course. It is very special and it's something I've carried with me all my life," she said.

"I was born here, my children were born here, my grandchildren were born here... this is our traditional country, this is our home.

"This is where we belong; we belong to this country and this country belongs to us. We do not own the country, that's not the right word."

Nhaya Nicky said she shared her culture with school students because she wanted to ensure her people weren't forgotten.

"One of the main reasons I teach my Darumbal culture and language in the schools is because of my ancestors and old people. They went through tremendous hardships and they deserve to be remembered… I do this so they will never be forgotten," she said.

"I want to continue on, I want to make Darumbal culture and language visible to all who live in Darumbal country because not only do I teach indigenous kids, I teach the non-indigenous kids too.

"I don't care who you are, what colour you are; if I get the opportunity to teach you about my Darumbal culture and language then I will do it."

Darumbal words

Here's three words to get your Darumbal story off to a good start:

Nhaya means aunty

Gudamulli means hello

Yimba means listen

Topics:  darumbal elder

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