Saybaylgaw Yangu Wakay May 2022

Workshops in Bamaga and Seisia May 2022 revitalising, documenting and maintaining Kalaw Kawaw Ya language and culture in Bamaga and Seisia.

Jensen Warusam & Jeff Aniba Waia teach KKY Language at Bamaga Ama Aukia Activity Centre May 2022.
Jensen Warusam & Jeff Aniba Waia teaching KKY Language at Seisia Fishing Club May 2022.

I am in the 4th year of producing Saybaylgaw Yangu Wakay, a community owned, community based and community driven project aimed at revitalising, documenting and maintaining Saibai language and culture with the Bamaga and Seisia communities. The team has develop workshops that are First Nations led, where artists, storytellers and creative practitioners share skills and industry expertise create the strongest outcomes. 

This project is about Saibai artists and storytellers determining the way stories and knowledge is shared and disseminated.There is an urgent need to revitalize, document and maintain the KKY language and culture through activities led by fluent speakers teaching children cultural knowledge in their mother tongue. 

Saibai is an island of 400 people which is threatened each month by rising tides, putting them on the frontline of Australia’s climate crisis in the 1950’s as Islanders were forced to migrate to the mainland. Saibai language and culture was threaten as younger generations grew up speaking dominant languages such as English and Creole. 

Saibai language and culture are inseparable, and are an integral part of culture and identity. Language embodies kinship, which connects Saibai people spiritually to the land, sea and sky environment. When Saibai language is used in speaking, singing and dancing it becomes a force which heals, empowers and strengthens health and wellbeing.

Teaching Saibai language and culture to children makes sense from a social, political, and economic perspective. 

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