History has been made in the Northern Territory (NT) with a member of the legislative assembly moving a motion in an Indigenous language for the first time.

13 May 2019

Yolngu politician, MLA Yingiya Mark Guyula, has campaigned for several years to be able to use his first language in the Northern Territory Parliament.

New rules were agreed during International Year of Indigenous Languages to allow the use of Indigenous language as long as a translation is provided.

The Independent Member for Nhulunbuy delivered a speech in the Djambarrpuyngu dialect of Yolngu Matha, the language spoken across north-east Arnhem Land.

An interpreter provided a simultaneous translation in English.

‘Our culture and language is strongly who we are – we are not Europeans, we are not migrants, we live on our own country,’ the MLA said.

He says being able to speak in language will help him advocate more confidently on behalf of his constituents.