The languages of First Peoples from Victoria are no longer spoken as a first language, the result of colonisation and assimilation as they were not allowed to be spoken in public, schools or on missions.
Most of the information on the languages of Victoria is written down from as far back as the 1840s. Some language was recorded and transcribed in the 1950s by linguist Luise Hercus. However, many recordings were of partial speakers – Elders’ speech was based on memories from childhood.
In this workshop, Harley Dunolly-Lee will look at the available research around kinship structures in the Kulin languages of Victoria, and how kinship can be reconstructed based on the historical sources.
The workshop will also show how kinship words are misinterpreted in the historical sources, as well as observations of early European recorders who did understand the Aboriginal way of life. The evidence will also be compared to knowledge that has been passed down today.