To coincide with the 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages, work is underway to map hundreds of plant and animal names for the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA).
The first stage of the project involved extensive consultation with Kamilaroi nation community members, from north eastern NSW and south eastern Queensland.
Language custodians Harry White, Rhonda Ashby, Bernadette Duncan and Ted Fields Jnr have assisted in mapping three Kamilaroi languages – Kamilaroi/Gamilaroi/Gamilarray, Yugaalaraay and Yugaal – to Latin species names.
In another important biodiversity project, the ALA has developed an app to assist Indigenous rangers gather environmental data in their own language.
Rangers enter details about animal tracks, scats, diggings and burrows into the Tracks App which provides a better understanding of local changes in biodiversity, population and the impact of feral species, among other things.
The app is being used by 19 ranger groups and has so far tracked more than 40 species in English, Warlpiri and Warramungu, from the region around Alice Springs and Tennant Creek, in the Northern Territory. It’s hoped this will be expanded to include more Indigenous languages.
The launch of the Tracks App, which recently won a CSIRO award, coincided with the Bilby Blitz to gather baseline data about the threatened native animal, which informed the first national threatened species plan developed with significant input from Aboriginal people. Photo credit Emu photo by Alan Melville