Today marks the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. To commemorate the day, Julia Niblett, the Australian High Commissioner to Bangladesh, hosted a screening of the documentary film, The Song Keepers. Members from the Bangladeshi indigenous community representatives, human rights activists, local media representatives, diplomats and others were present at the occassion. Themed ‘Indigenous Languages’, the event recognised the United Nations’ observance of 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages.
The Song Keepers revolves around the churches of remote Central Australia, which nurtures a musical legacy of ancient Aboriginal languages, sacred poetry and a baroque music, being preserved by four generations of Aboriginal women who encompass the Central Australian Aboriginal Women’s Choir. Against all odds and with the help of their choir conductor, they travel to Germany, to take back the hymns that were presented to their great grandparents by German missionaries, now sung in their own Aboriginal languages.
Advancing indigenous peoples’ rights globally is a pillar of Australia’s Human Rights Council (HRC) membership. Australia has supported the Kapaeeng Foundation, a human rights organisation for indigenous Peoples in Bangladesh, to strengthen the unity amongst the indigenous communities and assist them in various other manners.