We are so thrilled to announce that Lala Gutchen, our First Languages Program Facilitator for Erub Mer, has WON the National NAIDOC Caring for Country and Culture Award Category!

A proud Meuram woman from Erub Island in the Torres Strait, a composer, mother, fisherwoman, linguist, community organiser and cultural knowledge holder, Lala’s commitment to linguistic and social justice has seen her work tirelessly across a breadth of ground-breaking campaigns and projects, all driven by a unifying mission to protect and preserve her Country and Culture for future generations.

For the past three years, Lala has been an invaluable member of the ALNF team, helping to bring the Erub Mer First Languages Project to life. Thanks to Lala’s dedication to revitalising Erub Mer, the project has already led to the development of an Erub Mer literacy game app to teach, share and promote the Language amongst the younger generation, and together with her father, Kapua, they have recorded over 2000+ unrecorded words in Erub Mer, ensuring the Language is shared and celebrated for generations to come.

Deeply passionate about education and language revitalisation, Lala has also co-authored a series of journal articles for the Foundation for Endangered Languages, provided mentoring as a Community Educator through Living Languages, and has participated in research discovery workshops with the Queensland State Library.

She has also represented the Torres Strait nationally at the recent Warra: Indigenous Language Youth Forum in Adelaide and been a key cultural witness in a historic Queensland Land Court case, representing her people in a successful effort to preserve their Culture and protect the land. In 2019, Lala was also named a young Champion by First Languages Australia.

Lala, we are so proud to see your dedication and efforts being recognised once again and have no doubt that this is still only the beginning of your powerful journey to make change.


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