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Patji-Dawes 2021: Wiradjuri Language, Culture and Heritage staff

Patji-Dawes

Date: 20 May 2021

The staff of the Graduate Certificate in Wiradjuri Language, Culture and Heritage (GCWLCH) at Charles Sturt University (CSU) received the Patji-Dawes Group award in 2021. Wiradjuri woman and course alumna Elaine Lomas nominated the staff, which includes Dr Stan Grant, Snr, AM (co-founder, Wiradjuri Elder, and guardian of the program), Professor Sue Green (GCWLCH course director), Letitia Harris, Yari Lambshead, Debbie Evans, Patrick Connolly, Dr Petina Love, and Ruth Dacey Davys.

In response to her team’s nomination, course director Sue Green commented, “I am fortunate to be able to work on the Graduate Certificate as part of the team, teaching Wiradjuri language and working beside and at the direction of Uncle Stan Grant, Snr. This course is the best thing I ever did for myself. Now I have the honour of working with others to ensure that Wiradjuri language and culture reclaims it rightful place and Wiradjuri people are strong once again.”

“The CSU Language teachers are inspiring and effective because, like me, they have been renewed by the power of Wiradjuri Language to change how you see yourself and the world around you,” Elaine commented in her nomination.

“I am now oriented by a Wiradjuri compass,” she continued. “My life is being transformed and healed (bagaraybang) through my language.”

Elaine’s passion for and knowledge of her Wiradjuri heritage led CSU to invite her to return to the university as a teacher in the course. The GCWLCH was developed by working closely with the Wiradjuri Council of Elders and community members and is, in Elaine’s words, “a practical expression of Wiradjuri people co-designing their own educational solutions.”

Sue—who is also a GCWLCH graduate—echoed the sentiments many other alumni shared when reflecting on the impact of the course: “I thought that I had my life and work mapped out and knew where I was heading. The course completely changed life for myself and my family.... Everyone who does the course goes through a transformation personally and, for many, professionally as well.”

“The CSU Wiradjuri Language, Culture and Heritage course changed my life,” Jessica, another GCWLCH alumna commented. “As a Wiradjuri woman and Stolen Generation descendant, the course deeply reconnected me to culture, country and community.”

Linda and Matthew, a mother and son pair who graduated from the course in 2016, summed up the impact of their experience at CSU beautifully: “We began the course as a group of individuals and became a Wiradjuri family.”

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Three recipients were honoured in the 2021 Patji-Dawes Langauge Teaching Awards. The other 2021 recipients are Sharon Gregory for Community Outreach and Maria Lo Presti in the Individual category. For information on past years, click here.

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