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 Kija Lessons!


 Eileen Bray

 Polly Widaldjil

Eileen Bray, teacher of Kija language and culture in the school since 1979: "When the school started we wanted it to be two ways, so the kids could learn both ways. We didn't want them to loose their language and their culture. That's why we keep teaching for them. So when they grow up they can pass it on to their children and their grandchildren.  
We learn them their skin names, so they know who their family is and who they are not supposed to talk to (their in-laws). And we teach them about bush medicines, Dreaming stories, the names of animals and plants. When people come new to the school we always welcome them with water and smoke, so that nothing dangerous will happen to them while they are here in our country. We tell them where men are allowed to go and where they are not allowed to go to and same for women."

 Illustration by Mark Nodea. Copyright Ngalangangpum Catholic School, 1998  Copyright Ngalangangpum Catholic School, 1998
In the Kija lessons 'two-way books' are used. These tell about local Dreaming stories in both Kija and English. A local artists made the drawings.

Every class attends the Kija lessons twice a week. These are given by either Polly or Eileen. During the lessons the kids sit on the floor and listen to their teacher. They repeat words in Kija and do exercises to learn to write the words down. Sometimes they listen to Dreamtime stories as told in Kija and English and do a little play in which they act as the Dreamtime ancestors.