About us

iwaidja project mission

Iwaidja Inyman (ee-WAHD-jah EEN-mahn) meaning ‘Iwaidja language’ is an innovative and award-winning community project based on Croker Island in Northwestern Arnhem Land, dedicated to the documentation, maintenance, preservation and promotion of Iwaidja and other endangered languages of the region. 

Our funding comes from the Maintenance of Indigenous Languages and Records (MILR) programme administered by the Commonwealth Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Office for the Arts. The project currently operates under the auspices of West Arnhem Shire Council who provide administrative support.

Iwaidja is a highly endangered language spoken by perhaps less than 200 people. A far greater number of people understand the language, can partially speak it, or identify with it as their ancestral language over an area extending roughly to Oenpelli and Jabiru and Darwin in the south, Cobourg Peninsula in the Northwest, and Maningrida in the east.

Our Iwaidja Inyman project team consists of knowledgeable elders

of the Iwaidja cultural language group and younger Indigenous Iwaidja speakers who work alongside an anthropological linguist and additional specialists (including an ethnobotanist, marine biologist, material culture specialist and teachers) as required, to:

  • record, transcribe, translate and archive endangered Indigenous knowledge of the Iwaidja language group and related languages in Northwestern Arnhem Land
  • produce and publish bilingual print publications, including posters and books, and DVDs and music CDs
  • create a variety of digital and physical language resources for use by the local school, medical clinic, council, police and other community members.
  • train younger Iwaidja speakers in aspects of filming and post-production, computer archiving, transcribing and translating of Iwaidja texts 
  • organize awareness-raising activities, e.g. film nights, music performances, launch of publications
  • engage in mutually supportive partnerships with other organizations and projects