On Friday November 13th, as part of NAIDOC Week celebrations a team from the Deaf Aboriginal Services based in Adelaide, were guests at the Central Yorke School – Maitland Campus to launch a first of two Aboriginal Dreaming Stories in Auslan, the accepted signing language for Deaf and hard of hearing. Stories shared were ‘Shark Dreaming’ and ‘Where Is Galah?’
An audience of around 35 adults and children attended. The Point Pearce Aboriginal Corporation Chairperson Eddie Newchurch, Narungga Elder Uncle Edmund O’Loughlin and Community members from Point Pearce were present. Staff and students from CYS – Point Pearce Campus were invited to attend and engage with the stories told.
The developer, team leader, founder of DAS and proud Narungga woman Joanna Agius OAM introduced herself, and told her story of growing up as a Deaf Aboriginal woman, the difficulties and isolation she had felt, and how she has worked towards overcoming those difficulties.
Two of the DAS Team Samantha Wilson and Ben Hatchard who helped produce these stories. Samantha Wilson and Kirk O’Meara-Presley were introduced to share their life experiences as Deaf Aboriginal people, and Auslan interpreters Jabina Margo and Diedre Childs shared these stories with the hearing audience.
The first story shared on the screen was the Narungga ‘Shark Dreaming’ story, explaining where the shark came from. Thanks were given to Uncle Quentin Agius for providing the story, Uncle Parry Agius for doing the Voice over, and Mel Agius for providing the art work. The children were totally engrossed in the story, and were taught some simple signing in Auslan to help them participate in its telling.
The whole launch was a special event. Creating Dreaming Stories incorporating Auslan into their sharing, is, we think a world first. There is much excitement around what has been produced already, and where this concept may lead to in the future. The Team of Joanna Agius, Samantha Wilson, Mel Agius, Fiona Miller, Kirk O’Meara-Presley and Ben Hatchard have much to be proud of. There are so many Dreaming Stories to be told, and the potential to reach a wider deaf audience is huge.
The two Dreaming Stories can be downloaded by accessing the App Store and Play Store.