Vanessa Farrelly

Northern Territory
Language revivalist, leader

For many years, Vanessa's family has been working to revive Pertame (Southern Arrernte) - the language that belongs to the country south of Alice Springs. The lifeline came when she visited New York with her Nanna Kathleen, who is one of the few people still fluent in Pertame. As guests of a UN Forum on Indigenous Issues, they learned about the innovative Master-Apprentice Program model - developed by Native American communities in California. Vanessa is now leading a project that aims to create fluent Pertame speakers by bringing together Elders who speak the language and adult learners for intensive oral language immersion sessions. This approach is also developing young leaders, strengthening cultural identities and uniting families. For Vanessa, this project is not just about saving her own language, but also sharing the language revival methodology with Indigenous communities across Australia.

Vanessa Farrelly