Volume 30 Issue 27 03 Sep 2021 26 Elul 5781

Putuwa at Emanuel School

Indigenous Literacy Day

Indigenous Literacy Day was on Wednesday 1 September 2021.

At Emanuel School, one of the ways that we are foregrounding Indigenous languages is through a new project that launched earlier this term; Putuwa

On 19 September 1791, 15 year old Patyegarang from the Cammeraygal clan of the Eora nation taught the colonial astronomer and linguist William Dawes a Gadigal term: putuwa to warm one’s hand by the fire and then to squeeze gently the fingers of another.

This term and exchange embody the spirit of teaching and learning and beautifully capture the qualities of our School motto, Mind Spirit Being.

At Emanuel School, ‘Putuwa’ is a focus on learning and using Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander words and terms in order to deepen our understanding of the cultures that used/use them. Each week, we share a new term in a First Nations language. So far, we have learnt: 

  • budyeri kamaru”, meaning “hello” in Gadigal, the language that was traditionally spoken on the land that the School stands on.
  • jalngay”, meaning “the reflection of a fire”, “a shimmering light” in Bundjalung, a language spoken in far northern New South Wales.

This week, to mark Indigenous Literacy Day, we learn the term “ngaara”, meaning “to listen, to hear and to think” in Dharug language, traditionally spoken in the large region spanning north and west from Sydney. 

If you are interested in events and resources celebrating Indigenous Literacy Day, check out ild.org.au. 

The main program provides a window into the richness, diversity, and multilingual world of First Nations peoples. Audiences can select from over 50 inspiring, short video stories by storytellers including Jessica Mauboy, Gregg Dreise, Wayne Quilliam, Archie Roach, Anita Heiss, four young, newly published graphic novelists plus stories and animations from children and Elders from remote communities and organisations such as SharingStories Foundation, SNAICC, First Languages Australia and many more.  

All video stories can be viewed here.

For Primary School, students and early learners, teachers and parents can register for a special, free 25-minute pre-recorded event presented by dynamic performer and author Gregg Dreise, with a special guest appearance by Australia’s favourite pop singer Jessica Mauboy. 

This event is hosted by the Sydney Opera House. Register here.

By Adam Ezekiel, Director of Students (7-12) and Eytan Messiah, Head of Visual Arts