• Digital resources for language

    VACL is expanding into the use of inteactive digital tools and Apps for learning language.

    Read More
  • Community Training Workshops

    VACL offers a range of workshops to assist you with your language revival journey.

    Read More
  • Education and learning

    VACL supports education and learning activities in schools and communities around Victoria.

    Read More
  • Cultural events
    and festivals

    VACL promotes language through cultural activities and public events.

    Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

Group Photo 1

VACL's Vision

The Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages (VACL) will retrieve, revive and strengthen Indigenous Languages for Victorian Aboriginal people.

 

VACL's Objectives

The Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages (VACL) will achieve this by:

  • Acting as the peak body for Victorian Aboriginal Languages to develop partnerships with, and provide resources and information to, government and non-government and community organizations.
  • Promoting VACL as it fosters appreciation and use of Indigenous languages in a range of domains and media, so as to advance their retrieval, revival and maintenance.
  • Assisting Aboriginal communities to coordinate resources and employment and training through local language centres and committees.
  • Providing and maintaining a centre for resources for, and documentation of languages for the benefit of Victorian Aboriginal people.
  • Ensuring good governance and management practices within VACLs structure.

The Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages was established in 1994 to address the issues of language loss and is the state body responsible for coordinating Community Language Programs throughout Victoria. These programs are run in local communities that report regularly back to VACL. The Corporation is focused on retrieving, recording and researching Aboriginal languages and providing a central resource on Victorian Aboriginal Languages with programs now looking at educational tools to teach the Indigenous community about language.

Aboriginal Languages in pre-contact Australia

Prior to colonisation there were approximately 250 Indigenous languages spoken in Australia (approximately 40 in Victoria). Some of these had several varieties, and there were altogether about 500 language varieties used across Australia. Before settlement Indigenous individuals were capable of speaking five or more languages fluently. When two people met, they could identify the region each came from by the way they spoke. It was a bit like travelling across Europe and recognising which country each person comes from by their language.

Aboriginal Languages in Victoria today

In recent years there has been an upsurge of interest in the Aboriginal languages of the south-eastern corner of Australia. The boundaries between one language area and another are not distinct. Rather, mixtures of vocabulary and grammatical construction exist in such regions, and so linguistic maps may show some variation about where one language ends and another begins.

Many Australian Indigenous languages have declined to a critical state. More than three-quarters of the original Australian languages have already been lost, and the survival of almost all of the remaining languages are extremely threatened.

 

“Language is the carrier of information about who we are,

how we express ourselves and our culture, 

it defines our world around us”

Language alive in the community

Communities throughout Victoria, supported by VACL, are reviving their languages through language camps, workshops, school programs and educational material for children, music and dictionaries.

Aims of the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages:

  • To manage the Victorian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Language Initiative Program (ATSILIP).
  • To provide and maintain a central resource for Victorian Indigenous Languages for the benefit of the local Aboriginal Communities and individual Aboriginal people of Victorian Aboriginal descent.
  • To ensure that local Community Language Programs are progressing according to their benchmarks and objectives.
  • To support local Aboriginal community programs with research and retrieval by supporting the language workers with advice, training and assistance when needed.
  • To research and retrieve language materials from Victorian and interstate archives, so the material can be made available to local communities.
  • Assist local Communities with the writing of retrieval plans.

"Education and language are the glue needed to 

maintain, revive and reclaim culture."

Why is language important?

Language is important to Aboriginal people because it is a way for them to express their identity and be proud of where they come from and who they are. If a person knows a word in their language he/she is maintaining a link that has lasted thousands of years, keeping words alive that have been used by their ancestors - language is an ancestral right and it distinguishes something special about Aboriginal people from non-Aboriginal people. Language is a part of culture, and knowledge about culture is a means of empowering people. Language contributes to the wellbeing of Aboriginal communities, strengthens ties between elders and young people and improves education in general for Indigenous people of all ages.

 

Latest News

Everyone has a role to play in closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australia, Kia Dowell writes - ABC Message Stick
ABC Message StickEveryone has a role to play in closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australia, Kia Dowell writesABC Message StickClosing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australia is not just about grand speeches or moving Australia Day, it...
Read more...
Indigenous prisoners allowed to sell artworks while incarcerated, under new Victorian policy - ABC Message Stick
ABC Message StickIndigenous prisoners allowed to sell artworks while incarcerated, under new Victorian policyABC Message StickIndigenous men and women are now allowed to sell their artwork while incarcerated, under a new policy announced by the Victorian Government. The Aboriginal Arts...
Read more...
What Making a Murderer tells us about disability and disadvantage in criminal law - The Conversation AU
The Conversation AUWhat Making a Murderer tells us about disability and disadvantage in criminal lawThe Conversation AUIndigenous people with cognitive disability are doubly disadvantaged. The Sydney-based Intellectual Disability Rights Service ... This is perhaps understandable given the impenetrable language and...
Read more...
Stolen Generations compensation scheme should be set up in NSW, parliamentary inquiry told - ABC Online
ABC OnlineStolen Generations compensation scheme should be set up in NSW, parliamentary inquiry toldABC Online"And for the next 14 years of my life, I was trained to be a domestic," she said. "You weren't allowed to speak the language or...
Read more...
Six Nations Polytechnic now offers indigenous language degree - CBC.ca
CBC.caSix Nations Polytechnic now offers indigenous language degreeCBC.caStudents will now be able to receive a Bachelor of Arts degree, not just a diploma, in Ogwehoweh languages from the Six Nations Polytechnic Aboriginal Institute in Ohsweken, the province announced today. It's...
Read more...
Pope to OK use of indigenous languages for mass in Mexico - CBC.ca
CBC.caPope to OK use of indigenous languages for mass in MexicoCBC.caPope Francis will issue a decree authorizing the use of indigenous languages in mass celebrations when he travels to Mexico next week, one of the symbolic gestures he will make...
Read more...
Indigenous languages crusade - NT News
NT NewsIndigenous languages crusadeNT News“I hope people don't expect me to act any differently.” Despite being retired for 15 years, Mr Breen still toils away voluntarily in an office at the Institute of Aboriginal Development on South Tce. His lifework...
Read more...