Canberra FM says ‘Hello’ from Ngunnawal Country


Those who’ve listened to Canberra’s Mix106.3 or Hit104.7 recently may have heard the term ‘Yuma’ being used in the news.

‘Yuma’ is the Ngunnawal word for ‘Hello’.

The Ngunnawal people are the traditional custodians of the lands we know today as the Canberra region.

Now, a group of dedicated elders and linguists are now working together to rebuild and revive the local language.

Members of that group, the Winanggaay Ngunnawal Language Aboriginal Corporation, recently held a workshop for Canberra FM staff, teaching them about the rich history of the Ngunnawal people, their country and their language.

Canberra FM General Manager, Craig Wagstaff says “Whilst it’s timely to touch on during Reconciliation Week, our inclusion of references to First Nations language has been going on for some months now.”

“Our aim was to also use the broadcast and communications platform we’re fortunate to have, in aiding awareness and education.”

“Members of our team who were in attendance were respectfully bestowed the permission to utilise terms and learnt the Acknowledgement of Country, in Ngunnawal language.”

“This process of course is ongoing and continues and was spearheaded by News Director Lewis Haskew and Content Director Rod Cuddihy on behalf of both HIT104.7 and MIX106.3.”

“With gaps in the language still left to fill, there’s plenty of work ahead but It’s hoped that one day Ngunnawal will be taught and spoken fluently throughout the Canberra region.”

“Until then, words like Yuma (Hello) are helping to bring members of our community together in a form of reconciliation while also bringing awareness to the revival process.”

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3 Jun 2022 - 4:39 pm

This is what’s wrong with reconciliation in Australia..It’s not about a commercial business appropriation of a word’s that it is seen as DOING SOMETHING..FFS

3 Jun 2022 - 5:01 pm

Holmsey, I appreciate your sentiment about what reconciliation takes, but it has to start somewhere, and radio has a massive role to play in integrating the language into peoples language. Just look at the use of Te Reo Maori in Aotearoa, that process started over 40 years ago when it was a dying language. The word ‘yuma’ was gifted to use after those who would speak it on-air were educated by the Ngunnawal Elders over several hours, so it’s hardly appropriated. Happy to send you their details so your mob can also go through the process and make some first steps towards reconciliation. Or do you just want to stand on the sideline and throw stones? Love your work, mate.

13 Sep 2022 - 10:40 am

Yuma is not even a traditional Ngunnawal word. It’s a made up word. The problem I see is basically they are making up a language with no proper cultural consultation with the broader Ngunnawal community. Sad to see that Ngunnawal language has been appropriated by 1, 2, maybe 3 family groups.


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