Aboriginal community members of any age are invited to apply for full and part-time work preserving the region’s Aboriginal languages, with opportunities to travel and learn from elders. Language workers at Bundiyarra Aboriginal Community Aboriginal Corporation’s Irra Wangga Language Centre shared their impressions of the job with the Midwest Times. Retired schoolteacher Edie Maher said she enjoyed working with elders as they passed on the background knowledge that underpinned their language. “It’s very important to work with elders — they’re the backbone of their language,” she said. “I assist with their teaching as well.” While Ms Maher was still a schoolteacher, she invited Rosalie Jones to her Aboriginal language classes as a guest speaker. Ms Jones was also a guest speaker at Irra Wangga , so several years ago she was invited to become a language worker. Since then, the two women say they have shared many happy times on field trips to places such as Meekatharra, Carnarvon, Yalgoo, Mount Magnet and Mullewa, and at language conferences in Cairns and Darwin. “Because it was the year of indigenous languages last year, there were people from all over the world at PULiiMA language conference,” Ms Jones said. “We met some elderly ladies from the Tiwi islands.” She said the Tiwi singers sang a “healing song” at the conference opening. “Everyone in the room was really moved; people were all teary-eyed,” Ms Jones said. “Then we met people from Canada, America, India, and all over Australia.” Zahtina Hawkins,18, recently started working at the centre. “I like working here, learning my culture and my Wajarri language,” she said. “I get a lot of experience. There’s a lot of opportunity in this.” Ms Hawkins said she was keen to attend a workshop offered by the group, Living Languages, in Melbourne. More information about job opportunities is available by phoning 9920 7900.