Diane Riley-McNaboe and Rhonda Ashby from Dubbo College, NSW are finalists in the 2019 HESTA Community Sector Awards.
Diane and Rhonda are recognised for helping Aboriginal people in the community re-engage with their language and culture. Their work aims to enhance the wellbeing of Aboriginal people through reawakening and reconnecting them with their language and culture after it was lost due to colonisation.
For non-Aboriginal people, Diane's and Rhonda's work aims to nurture inter-cultural relationships and create a better understanding of Aboriginal people, language, culture, and land. Diane and Rhonda have been instrumental in creating teaching programs and resources on Aboriginal language for the community, schools, TAFE’s and Universities. Their research with Elders and linguists to understand the complex linguistic and cultural structure of these languages was pivotal in shaping their teaching programs.
They have taught and supported programs in 30 schools to over 3,500 Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students. They were also among a group of leaders who provided advice to the NSW Department of Aboriginal Affairs in the development of the NSW Aboriginal Languages Act 2017 and are recognised by the NSW State Library as community-based language experts. They now plan to develop further resources for school and community programs