Yorta Yorta country

This weekend I am heading to Shepparton to participate in a six week secondment through work, brokered through Jawun (www.jawun.org).

I am really excited and humbled by the opportunity that my work has given me to participate and work with Aboriginal people and organisations in Shepparton. I will be seconded to the Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation, helping them to scope an Intranet (internal communications solution) and to develop a social media engagement strategy. The project brief is well aligned with my skills and experience in government and community organisations and I hope that I will be able to contribute something useful to these initiatives.

During my stay in Shepparton, I am also planning to develop a series of art work about the region, as it is a landscape of flood plains, very different from the alpine environments I am more familiar with in Canberra. I am also keen to learn some words in Yorta Yorta if possible.

Language has become increasingly important as an avenue of exploration in my creative practice. I do believe that to understand a culture, you need to understand the language. This is a huge challenge in Australia as there are so many Indigenous languages. For example, I would love to see if there are similar words that are in common between Yorta Yorta, Wiradjuri and Ngunnawal languages.

I have pasted a map of the Yorta Yorta traditional lands – from the Yorta Yorta website:

Yorta Yorta Country

Yorta Yorta Country

Here is some more information from the website:

The name of the Association is Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation, reflecting the Yorta Yorta language spoken by all the Yorta Yorta clans, including the Kaitheban, Wollithiga, Moira, Ulupna, Bangerang, Kwat Kwat, Yalaba Yalaba and Ngurai-illiam-wurrung clans.

The Yorta Yorta Nation is comprised of peoples with undeniable bloodlines to the Original Ancestors of the Land of the Yorta Yorta Nation. These bloodlines link Yorta Yorta peoples’ past, present and future to one another, with traditional laws, customs, beliefs and sovereignty intact.

Over the last few months and as part of the Finding Balance: Mura Gadi project, I have been doing a lot of reading about the Ngunnawal and Wiradjuri people and lands. Wiradjuri country borders Yorta Yorta country, so I am really keen to learn as much as possible about culture and language.

Here is a map of the Aboriginal Language groups in NSW/Northern Vic from NSW Aboriginal Housing Office:

Aboriginal Language Map

Aboriginal Language Map

Although it is a very exciting venture, I will miss home and my lovely men a lot, all three of them – my son, my hubby and my cat!