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Irriti ngurra Warumpila ngayulu nyinapayi. Pulinguru walpangku ngyunya 
yunpa pampunu.

A long time ago, I lived on the land of my people, Warumpi. From the 
mountains, the wind would blow and caress my face.

~ from 'Ngurrparringu (Forgotten)' by Matthew Heffernan

The International Year of Indigenous Languages is 2019

Delivered by Red Room Poetry and developed by Gunai poet Kirli Saunders, the Poetry in First Languages (PIFL) project celebrates, shares and preserves knowledge of First Nations languages and culture through poetry, music, dance and art.

PIFL supports First Nations students in creating poetry in first languages by connecting them to First Nations poets, Elders and Language Custodians on Country to empower pride in their cultural identities resulting in enhanced wellbeing. 

In 2019, we'll be delivering more than 35 workshops on Arrernte, Gundungurra, Dharawal, Gumea Dharawal, Ngunawal and Gadigal  Countries (NT, NSW and ACT). We'll be publishing the poems from the workshops on our website and in public art installations. We'll also be cultivating a Poetry in First Languages Collection for release in 2020.


Help keep First Nations languages alive

Contributing Elders, Language Custodians & artists

Ellen Van Neerven (Mununjali Yugambeh), Matthew Heffernan (Pintupi-Luritja), Melanie Mununggurr Williams (Djapu), Declan Furber Gillick (Arrernte), Nicholas Paton (Ngunawal), Ethan Bell (Ngunawal), Nicole Smede (Woremi), Kirli Saunders (Gunai), Aunty Sharyn Halls (Gundungurra), Aunty Trish Levett (Gundungurra), Jacob Morris (Gumea Dharawal), Aunty Jodi Edwards (Yuin), Paul Collis (Barkindji), Joel Davison (Gadigal), David Cragg (Bundjalung), Allan Giddy.

Workshops & events

  • Gundungurra (Southern Highlands NSW)
    18-20 March 2019 Cultural Day and workshops with Aurora Southern Highlands Steiner School, Berrima Public School, Bowral Public School and Moss Vale High School in partnership with NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment and Wingecarribee Shire Council.
    Student poetry on buses >

  • Dharawal (Illawarra NSW)
    7 and 8 May with Figtree Public School, Port Kembla Public School, Warilla North Public School, Oak Flats High School and Dapto High School, in partnership with Merrigong Theatre, Wollongong Art Gallery 

  • Arrernte (Alice Springs, NT) 
    13-14 May with Centralian Senior College and Ltyentye Apurte Catholic School in partnership with NT Writers Festival 
    16 May Student performances at NT Writers Festival alongside commissioned poets

  • Gumea Dharawal (South Coast, NSW)
    19-21 August with Bomaderry High School, Vincentia High School and Nowra East Public School in partnership with Bundanon Trust 

  • Dharawal (Mt Annan, NSW)
    1 November with 
    First Nations NASCA students in years 7­–11 from South West Sydney Schools, in partnership with the Australian Botanic Garden, Mount Annan and NASCA delivered by Ethan Bell and alongside Yuin woman, and Dharawal  Language Custodian, Jodi Edwards.

  • Ngunawal (Canberra, ACT)
    11 and 12 November with Mount Stromlo High School and Dickson College, in partnership with Allan Giddy