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I am wondering if it's possible for a traveller in Australia to immerse in aboriginal culture, or Torres Strait Islander culture.

By "immerse" I mean stay in a traditional aboriginal area where people speak the language on an everyday basis and generally live to some degree or other in a traditional way. Maybe including staying with a family and being taught some traditional skills or otherwise participating in daily life.

I'm from Australia and work in tourism and I think it's safe to say most Aussies would have no idea if you can do this. But it's a big country and we're pretty ignorant of our native culture.

For me the language aspect is important. I do know the most actively maintained indigenous languages in Australia are in Central Australia (Pitjantjara, Arrernte, Warlpiri) and Torres Strait (Kala Lagaw Ya). I also believe that traditional culture and language is practiced in Arnhem Land by the Yolngu people. But I have no idea about the state of tourism in those areas.

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2 Answers 2

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+100

Ada Parry of Woodygupildiyerr, the Cultural Education Coordinator for NTGPE - had a cultural Aboriginal immersion course offered in July of this year. 7 people were invited to come and stay with his family in her cultural home for 5 days.

I'd suggest that would be a great place to start - if the program was successful, Ada may well be running more, and may even be aware of other similar projects happening within Australia.

The project ran from July 4th to July 8th of this year.

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You get the points Mark not because you need them but because the one you found was specifically about immersion even though I couldn't find any mention of whether the people maintain their traditional language or not. –  hippietrail Oct 4 '11 at 9:33
    
sweet, I aim to please :) –  Mark Mayo Oct 4 '11 at 9:34

There are a number of "centers" in Australia that offer an aboriginal cultural immersion program. Here is a list of some in the North:

http://www.frommers.com/destinations/australia/0212020858.html

For points further south (.e.g. New South Wales), there is the Edmund Rice Center.

http://www.erc.org.au/index.php?module=pagemaster&PAGE_user_op=view_page&PAGE_id=124

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This seems to be a good start but none of the Frommers ones mention anything about the language aspect and the Edmund Rice Center one makes it sound like the language isn't use on a day to day basis. (I don't think any aboriginal languages are in active use in NSW but I'd love to be wrong!) –  hippietrail Sep 26 '11 at 19:19

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