Why we have to keep indigenous languages alive
WHEN Joe Butler comes to Bundaberg to dance, he steps onto land that is his by blood.
"We're from Rockhampton but this is my natural country, Gurang country. My great-great grandfather lived here, John Williams.”
He was taught to dance by his grandfather and speaks Gurang, Taribelang, Goreng Goreng and more from around the area.
He passes what he knows onto his sons, including Trey and Brandon, above, who joined him to dance in Buss Park yesterday to kick off Naidoc Week.
"I do it because I love the culture,” Mr Butler said.
"I love passing it on - I've got three boys in the dance group.”
When he dances he feels excitement and pride. "I'm sharing stuff with my boys, and my girls as well.”
This year's Naidoc Week is all about sharing and passing on: the theme is "Our languages matter”.
Gidarjil Corporation chairman Kerry Blackman said the week was about "promoting our strong culture”.
"A strong culture means strong people,” he said.
"There's a great revival and maintenance going on of aboriginal languages throughout Australia.
"The government is investing in that, which is good to see...because language means you're proud in your identity. It says who you are.”
Last night local indigenous youth starred in a play at the Moncrieff, No Buus on the Bus, in Gurang and English.