“How did I not know this?”

Sometimes Reality TV can be used for good too....

Reality TV often gets a bad rap (and that’s frequently deserved) but sometimes it can use its powers for good too…

I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here is known for its deep discussions between cast members who are stuck sitting in the so-called jungle for weeks on end.

Last night former TV and radio host -and seasoned Reality star- Dylan Lewis struck up a conversation with former AFL player Derek Kickett about the breadth of First Nations languages.

“I’m from WA. That’s Noongar country. In Noongar nation, we have 14 clans. My clan is Ballardong,” Kickett told him.

Lewis was amazed to discover each language is specific to a particular place and people.

“Is it heaps different? Do you understand each other enough?”

“Not at all,” Kickett replied.

“Really? So do you use English letters to make the sound of the word that you’ve been using without letters for years?”

Kickett went on to explain First Nations languages can have different vowel sounds to English.

“Ours are different. It sort of rolls off your tongue,” he continued.

“A different shape?” Lewis asked.

“Yeah. We have different vowels.”

“How come I don’t know all this yet?” Lewis queried.

“It’s never been taught,” answered Kickett.

Lewis went on to explain he wasn’t taught anything about Indigenous history during his 1980s schooling.

“We all have to talk more about it. Like most things, that’s the way forward. But the conversation has to be started,” he added.

9 Responses

  1. This sort of content is only coming through in the schools curriculum nowadays. Maybe in the last 5-10 years. None of this was taught to me either in schools. It’s only that I was working on some indigenous issues and works that I learned this information. I think my teachers then didn’t know much about Indigenous Australian concepts either at that time. The resources are definitely there now. Also some of the indigenous broadcasting channels globally have only become significant in the last couple of decades. It may not have been good then, but this is the journey of Australia and I think it would be good for the future generations. The experiences are also different from say Darwin with a higher indigenous population to some suburbs in southern states with not much interaction between indigenous and non-indigenous Australian people. Though it’s changing now.

  2. Just happened to catch that little chat too. As a ‘new’ Australian (only been here 26 years) it really amazes me that so few Aussies know anything about Aboriginal culture, history, language etc. Do they not read? There are hundreds of books on the subject (fiction and non fiction). There is the NITV channel, for those who have difficulty reading. There are movies made by f.ex. Warwick Thornton.
    So sorry, ‘Celebrities’ – no excuses for not knowing.

    1. Although in those 26 years you’ve been here, there have been many changes in education and visibility of Aboriginal culture…even in the 80’s and 90’s, most students weren’t being educated in Aboriginal history.

      I think that over time and with changes over the last decades, younger generations will learn more about Aboriginal culture, but it isn’t a shock that older people basically don’t know anything…

  3. I studied quite a bit of Aboriginal History in the Port Phillip District in Year 12 a couple of years back. Maybe Australian schools should offer Aboriginal Studies as an elective subject for Years 9 & 10 and maybe a ATAR subject choice for Years 11 & 12?

  4. I was privileged to be brought up in New Zealand at a time when the Maori culture was starting to be embraced as part of our identity, instead of ignored as an afterthought. And since moving away, it’s only gotten more embedded; It’s taught in schools, and maintained in business, entertainment, and daily life in NZ (and even then many consider that’s still not enough).

    But Australia has approximately zero recognition of Aboriginal culture beyond occasional superficial reference. It’s shameful. It could and should be everywhere, but it’s basically nowhere.

  5. gosh, an intelligent conversation on reality TV. Who’d have thought?
    I also love your (correct) references to “so-called” jungle. I’ve long tried to tell UK friends who watch their version which has long been filmed there that Australia in fact does not have “jungle”
    : )

      1. Australia, being a large place, .does have tropical rainforest ie ‘jungle’-see the army’s training centres at Canungra or Tully for example, intended to inure troops to the conditions in PNG or other SE Asian garden spots over the decades.
        As far as Aboriginal languages are concerned, what’s going to be more useful in life learning one of the many spoken by a few hundred or thousand people or learning French or Spanish or Mandarin or Indonesian?

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