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Honouring Wiradjuri language and culture
Wiradjuri nation rebuilders Donna Murray and Debra Evans explain how their nation building journey has evolved to become more deeply connected to Wiradjuri language and culture:1Donna Murray and Debra Evans, “Culturally Centred, Community Led: Wiradjuri Nation Rebuilding through Honouring the Wiradjuri Way,” in Developing Governance and Governing Development: International Case Studies of Indigenous Futures, eds. Diane Smith, Alice Wighton, Stephen Cornell and Adam Vai Delaney (Maryland: Rowan & Littlefield, 2021), 165-166.
“Our goal is big — we are aiming to rebuild vibrant communities that have an attitude to freedom and sovereignty that is deeply grounded in the sacredness of Wiradjuri language and culture.
We are choosing our own reality rather than being blown off course by outside governments, incrementally rebuilding sustainable and culturally legitimate governance processes. The Wiradjuri language and culture are the philosophical compass for this process of restoring and making healthy, eternal Wiradjuri belonging/identity.
Our thinking and our work is undertaken within two complementary frames — Indigenous nation building, and the Wiradjuri cultural frame or standpoint stated in the title of this chapter: Bagaraybang burrambin Wiradjuri-giyalang (‘to restore and make healthy, eternal, Wiradjuri-belonging and identity’.) … The thirty years of research from elsewhere has been critical in changing our approach to education and development. However, the real transformation began when the wider Indigenous nation-building work became centred in a Wiradjuri paradigm. This community strengthening work is, consequently, a reflection of the wise practices of numerous Wiradjuri elders and other community-spirited leaders who continue to work tirelessly to restore Wiradjuri language and culture as the foundational asset for rebuilding vibrant and culturally legitimate communities in Wiradjuri country.”