The Elders have been fighting for over 30 years to protect their traditional custodianship of their land and sea. Senior Elders stand strong and responsibilities have been taken up from one generation to the next. This Mirning Language Project offers a catalyst for protecting the continuity of the language as well as keeping the communication with country alive and thriving.
Mirning is one of the world’s oldest living languages. The sounds connect the culture to Dreamtime creation stories and the sea country. The connection between people and country is so ancient that the homelands include those that are now beneath the waves of the Southern Ocean as a result of sea levels rising. The Mirning are a people older than geological age.
The word Mirning means listen, learn, observe and understand for wisdom and knowledge. Their traditional homelands in the Great Australian Bight, are their museum, university and education. This is the place where the southern right whales tend the calves and teach them and it is a sanctuary where the whales rest and find refuge. For Mirning people, who have the whales as their totem, the whales are family – brothers and sisters. The annual returning of the whale is always a celebration for the people; reuniting family.