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VALATOTA - Promoting the languages and oral traditions of Arnhem Land

The main aim of this project is to collect, analyze, then disseminate and valorize oral tradition data (myths, legends, traditional knowledge, rites, beliefs, oral histories and life stories of emblematic community figures) in collaboration with local institutions (schools, rangers, health facilities, cultural/linguistic centers) and members of indigenous Australian communities.

The languages and geographical areas chosen are representative of the oral tradition of most of Arnhem Land, with three major cultural and linguistic groups in the region (Maningrida, central and eastern Arnhem Land; Gunwinyguan, northern, central and southern Arnhem Land; Iwaidjan, western and north-western Arnhem Land).

These bodies of data will be used locally for archiving and preservation, and to produce booklets, teaching materials, posters and a book for the general public. These media will help to promote our results locally and to the general public.

Local promotion (schools, other public or private presentations) will help revitalize indigenous languages and knowledge that are in serious danger of disappearing.

General promotion will aim to make the general public more aware of the richness of these languages and of this oral heritage, which is still too little known, or represented with biases that do it a disservice. Last but not least, the corpora created could also help to improve the description of several types of grammatical categories, lexico-grammatical categories or lexical fields particularly represented in such data, and thus be used locally in educational material.

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