Reclaiming Indigenous place names in the Territory
Charles Darwin University (CDU) is working with Larrakia Nation to restore place names and revitalise language across its campuses in the Northern Territory.
As a part of the process, CDU will co-name all new buildings and facilities with place names working with Aboriginal leaders to ensure they are written with the correct grammatical structure, concepts and vocabulary.
In partnership with Larrakia Nation, CDU will name its Education and Community Precinct, Danala the name for dillybag which represents a place to house knowledge.
The new Education and Community Precinct, or Danala, is the centrepiece of the Darwin City Deal – a 10-year partnership between the Australian and Northern Territory governments and the City of Darwin to drive a more vibrant and liveable tropical capital city.
CDU Vice-Chancellor Scott Bowman said it was important that its buildings across its campuses incorporated the naming practises of First Nations people in the Territory.
“Greater integration between place-naming and Aboriginal culture and languages can help all Territorians be better connected to the land they are living in,” Professor Bowman said.
“During the last centuries Indigenous lands were remapped and renamed by colonial powers across Australia, so it’s incredibly important that we restore place names to First Nations people in the Territory.
Larrakia Elder-in-Residence Bilawara Lee (Aunty B) said the new CDU campus building was named in consultation with Larrakia Nation.
“Charles Darwin University, students and staff of the university will weave a strong spiritual danala, a dilly-bag where they will carry knowledge and tools as they travel along a successful and fulfilling career,” Aunty B said.
CDU Deputy Vice-Chancellor First Nations Leadership Reuben Bolt said naming buildings in Indigenous language was the start of offering more inclusion in education for First Nations people in the Territory.
“We’re making a commitment to name the Territory’s university campuses, facilities and buildings with Indigenous place names,” Professor Bolt said.
“This is a start to encourage and facilitate more inclusion of Aboriginal people, language and custom in place-naming throughout the Territory and in the education sector.”
Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Minister Catherine King said the precinct’s new name, Danala, is a fitting description for a place that will bring students, visitors, academics and other community members together to learn and grow.
“The infrastructure we are delivering today will play a key role in the Territory of tomorrow – in its social, cultural and economic futures – making it important to ensure greater inclusion of First Nations people, language and customs in place-naming,” Minister King said.
NT Minister for Business, Jobs and Training Minister Paul Kirby said the naming of the Charles Darwin University’s CDU Campus as ‘Danala’ is a great initiative to help keep traditional language alive in the Northern Territory.
“As the new name suggests, the campus will certainly be a place to house knowledge, where students from near and far will gain the skills and education they need to thrive,” Minister Kirby said.
Federal Member for Solomon Luke Gosling said this is a fantastic milestone for Darwin’s largest construction project, which will position us as a future centre of educational excellence.
“Danala will attract students from all over the country and the world to Darwin, where they will learn so much more than what’s in their chosen qualifications – and that includes the rich First Nations cultures and languages,” Mr Gosling said.