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Keynote: Denise Smith-Ali

19 June 2024 at 7:55:00 am

UWA Main theatre

K06 Keynote

30 min


Noongar woman Denise Smith-Ali OAM lived her early life in her father’s Kaniyang Country (Noongar). Her mother is Wilman Clan (Noongar). Denise is from Bilya Moort (River people).

Denise has always had a strong interest in her culture and language, and has worked for two decades on reviving and maintaining Noongar language. In 1997-2002 Denise was part of establishing an Aboriginal K-3 School. In 2001, Denise became a Noongar LOTE teacher. Denise qualified with a Batchelor of Arts in Language and Linguistics from Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education in 2008.

Denise is now the Senior Linguist/Language Coordinator for NBLCAC, undertaking forensic analysis of the extensive recordings, transcriptions, historic materials, lexical database, morphology, dictionary, sketch grammar and phonology. Working collaboratively with CSIRO scientists on the ALA’s Indigenous Ecological Knowledge (IEK) project, Denise believes it is important to have Elders on Country, with scientists, to share knowledge from an Indigenous point of view and teach the younger staff from the centre how important it is to reclaim and revitalise Noongar language. Denise believes that scientific processes and learning opportunities have been far more powerful for all partners as a result of working together.

Denise is a member of the International Decade of Indigenous Languages Directions Group since 2022. In May 2023, Denise received an Order of Australia Medal for her decades of work on revitalising Noongar Language.


Ms Denise Smith-Ali OAM

Relevance to conference themes

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