The ABC will be introducing a number of initiatives as part of their commitment to the ABC Elevate Reconciliation Plan, including an increase in use of Indigenous place names across programming.
According to the ABC, 7.30 will start incorporating Indigenous place names in the coming weeks. The broadcast also said that they will be “increasing the use of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander names through supers in video programming, news reporting and in social media and TV and commissioned screen content.”
Currently, a number of ABC channels and programs already use Indigenous place names. For example, triple j, Double J, ABC Classic and ABC Country presenters use Indigenous place names as a matter of course in regard to listeners or artists’ places of origin. On triple j, calling in listeners are also asked to give the Indigenous place name of where they’re calling from.
triple j also announced Blak Out – a First Nations music program hosted every Saturday – earlier this month.
Gardening Australia has shown Indigenous place names on its map of Australia since 2020, and a recent TV special of Australia Talks also incorporated Indigenous place names. ABC factual & culture requires external producers to reference Indigenous place names in documentary series, where relevant.
Indigenous consultants advise on the appropriate use of such place names in this content.
Phillipa McDermott, ABC’s Indigenous lead, said in a press release that, “Indigenous languages and place names are not just a means of simple Identification, they express knowledge about everything we know: Family, clan, law, geography, history, relationships, philosophy, religion, anatomy, country, everything.”
“So, when we invite our audience to listen to and practise these words and languages, we are not only maintaining our culture but we are passing it on to new generations, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, who now live on this land.”
“We hope it will ignite their imaginations to think about what the word means or what the place where they might live, work or travel to means, and the deep spiritual significance of that name or place. The ABC is an industry leader in this space and while we are already working with many other organisations, we really encourage all our industry colleagues to do the same.”
The ABC has also incorporated Acknowledgment of Country in its 7pm news bulletints.
Acknowledgement of Country currently takes place on the ACT, Northern Territory, South Australian and Tasmanian news broadcasts. It will be introduced in WA and NSW, while in Queensland and Victoria, Indigenous place names will be included in viewer-sourced photographs in weather reports during the 7pm news.
An Acknowledgement of Country is also featured daily on ABC Children’s programming.
For NAIDOC Week, the ABC is highlighting Indigenous staff and stories across their channels and platforms.
Content will include conversations with young Indigenous leaders and Elders about the NAIDOC Week theme of ‘Heal Country!’ as well as Radio National programs exploring Indigenous stories, people and issues.
Celebrations of Indigenous talent across the ABC’s national music networks will include ABC Classic’s premiere of Deborah Cheetham’s Woven Song, Double J’s “Deadly Beats” J Files and an extended edition of triple j’s new First Nations music show Blak Out.
NAIDOC Week takes places between July 4 and 11.
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