Kaurna Language Week

Kaurna Aboriginal art 2013

Kaurna Aboriginal art by Katrina Karlapina Power

Last week was Kaurna Language Week – Kaurna being the Aboriginal people of the Adelaide plains area. Nicky, who is becoming a regular in these posts, went on a tour put on during the week, as part of the celebrations, looking at significant sites around town for the Kaurna people. She said it was really interesting and uplifting – and also sad to hear about the ways the old culture has been treated. It is really wonderful though that so much work has been done to preserve the language, and that people are learning and speaking it.

Many of the key places in the city have been given Kaurna names either instead of or as well as English names. Some of the stories that go with the names are important. The word for Victoria Square for example is Tarntanyangga, which means ‘red kangaroo rock place’. The actual rock was down near Festival Centre when Europeans arrived, and it was broken up and quarried to be used for building some of the first buildings for the colony – old parliament house and the original Adelaide gaol for example. It is like a metaphor for destroying and replacing the whole culture.

On the other hand, people’s pride and commitment are what has brought the Kaurna language back from the brink of extinction, and this is really worth celebrating. There are lots of online lessons in the language on you tube. Here is a link: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UChOOYOnJuEeydJK0QjN_Fpw (there’s a funny and sweet clip for kids about Kaurna greetings that’s worth a look and comes up when you first click onto the link).

There’s also a great piece of public art at the Festival Centre, near the car park entrance, which honours the original people – I’ve put a picture of it below. It’s really good to be able to acknowledge all this – many thanks to Nicky for passing on the information.


Kaurna meyunna Kaurna yerta tampendi. The artwork at the Festival Centre. The words mean Recognising Kaurna people and Kaurna land

Kaurna meyunna Kaurna yerta tampendi. The artwork at the Festival Centre. The words mean Recognising Kaurna people and Kaurna land

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Kaurna Language Week

  1. Nicky says:

    So good to see the art work links in this post. Very classy 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.