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Gumbaynggirr school to be first bilingual school in NSW with an Aboriginal language

Teisha Cloos -

The Bularri Muurlay Nyanggan Aboriginal Corporation (BMNAC) has established a new education initiative, the Gumbaynggirr Giingana Freedom School, and will be the first bilingual school in New South Wales featuring an Aboriginal language.

Bularri Muurlay Nyanggan translates to "two path strong" in Gumbaynggirr language.

Aiming to open in 2022, the Gumbaynggirr Giingana Freedom School will be an Aboriginal Independent primary school offering bilingual education.

"The school will commence with 15 enrolments from Kâ€"2, with a 100 per cent Aboriginal student enrolment," said BMNAC in a statement.

One of the main goals at BMNAC is the revitalisation of Gumbaynggirr language and its everyday use. The Gumbaynggirr Giingana Freedom School would offer a curriculum grounded in Gumbaynggirr language and knowledge systems.

BMNAC was established in 2010 by Gumbaynggirr and Bundjalung man Clark Webb, who said language is something he is passionate about.

"I didn't grow up speaking Gumbaynggirr and Bundjalung fluently, although I use words and Aboriginal English, which is important, especially in terms of learning Gumbaynggirr now," he said.

"It's always been a sore point for me not being able to speak either of my languages and it's still something I'm sore about but instead of letting it get to me too much, I thought I may as well do something about it, and then try and encourage other people to do it also and keep it alive.

"You know we really need to act now on it and make sure our language stays strong."

The school is set to be administered by BMNAC, through BMNAC Board, Chief Executive Officer and Principal.

They are currently taking expressions of interest for school principal and teachers closing September 3.

By Teisha Cloos

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