Having lived in Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland most of his life, Stephen Atkinson (43) says that settling in Port Augusta feels like coming back to his Mother Land.
With a mission to reclaim the Barngarla language for the current and future generations, he takes his responsibility as the Chairperson of the Bangarla Language Advisory Committee (BLAC) most seriously.
Inspired by the urge to reconnect with his family, identity, heritage and culture, Stephen has been keen to help his fraternity wherever possible.
It was in 2012, when Stephen met Professor Ghi 'ad Zuckermann and discussed the Barngarla Language Reclamation project. Stephen joined the project and never looked back since then.
Stating that the children are the key in the revival and survival of the Barngarla language, Stephen believes that we can teach them to learn and speak their mother tongue, Barngarla.
While saying so, Stephen also understands that it is not going be an easy task to immerse oneself in the language that has not been spoken for over 50 years. The way to go, according to Stephen, is to come out with innovative teaching tools such as Language Resource Books for children, so that they can use it in their everyday life.
Stephen is proud of the fact that his mother, who used to speak Barngarla as a kid, often attends the Barngarla language workshops. Furthermore, he points out that the reclamation project also helps his Aunty Patty. He believes that expressing oneself in the native tongue is essential in the healing process of the Aboriginal people.