Where is this coming from?
The project began in Oakland California in 2015, when Steven Bird, Robyn Perry, Nadia Chaney and Manuel Maqueda established Treasure Language Storytelling and hosted shows featuring native Americans and newly arrived immigrants sharing stories in the original languages.
We launch this new phase from the Indigenous country in the far north of Australia, home to the greatest concentration of endangered languages on the planet.
Where is this going?
This project is raising awareness of and respect for the thousands of small languages still being spoken in the world today. It informs people about the local indigenous languages and encourages reconciliation and pride.
The project connects newly arrived people with the original inhabitants, and creates positive connections through shared experience of being in a linguistic minority and owning their first languages in public.
Why are we doing this?
We believe that in telling a story, the speaker offers it as a gift, and in having it heard they receive a gift in return.
We believe that no matter which language is spoken, when a story is told from the heart it can be heard and understood by anyone who is listening with their heart.
We believe that in the telling and receiving of stories our lives are enriched by the world's oral cultures. We listen to appreciate how stories sound in the original languages, and to publicly recognise that this language and its speakers belong here and can bring more of themselves to this place.
Ultimately, we believe that demonstrating respect for the thousands of small languages still spoken will lead to a world that sustains its languages.
-Steven Bird, Kwame Selormey, Dean Yibarbuk