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Hills Shelter Keeping APY Lands Culture Alive

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The Adelaide Hills has been sanctuary to a small group of vulnerable women and children from SA's remote Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands during the coronavirus pandemic.

A campground in Mylor has not only provided shelter for families unable to get back home due to strict biosecurity rules, but it has helped to keep culture alive through first-language lessons.

Dr Sam Osborne, Associate Director for regional engagement (APY Lands) at the University of South Australia, has worked with iWiri, Housing SA, the State Government and Baptist Care SA to facilitate the program, utilising the skills and knowledge of first language teachers and four residents who are teachers from the APY Lands.

"There is that component of restoring, retaining, reviving, strengthening languages but it's also that kids learn better in their first language," Dr Osborne said.

Pitjantjatjara woman Tjulyata Tjilya has told the ABC that the shelter has been a real home away from home.

"It's been great to get together and stay here because we're all family, and it's a great place to wait and be safe before we go back to our lands," Tjulyata Tjilya said.

"Because of COVID–19, everything has closed and some people can't go back to the APY Lands, so it's great that we found a safe place here to stay."

Photo at top supplied by Sam Osborne via Iwiri