Arabana (Arabunna)

Arabana language is traditionally associated with the western Lake Eyre region. It shares many features with other Lakes languages. Arabana people were heavily impacted by pastoralism and major colonial infrastructure developments such as the Australian Overland Telegraph Line (1872) and the railway line linking Adelaide and Oodnadatta (opened in 1891, and later extended to Alice Springs in 1929).

Information about classical Arabana society was recorded by Spencer & Gillen (1899). Detailed linguistic recording was not done until the 1960s and later published by Luise Hercus (1994). Currently, the Mobile Language Team in association with the Arabana Peoples Committee is developing online language learning resources to service contemporary Arabana peoples.

Today, most Arabana people live off-country in centres as widespread as: Adelaide, Pt Augusta, Marree, Coober Pedy, Oodnadatta, Alice Springs and Darwin.

AIATSIS id : L.13

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Anna Creek tribe (a group), Arabana (used by AIATSIS & SIL), Arabuna, Arapani, Arapina (Iliaura is a modern pronunciation), Arebana, Arrabonna, Arrabunna, Arubbinna, Jendakarangu (a group near Coward Springs), Ngarabana, Nulla, Peake tribe (a group), Rabuna (an aberrant Aranda pronunciation), Urabuna, Urabunna, Urapuna, Urroban, Wangarabana ( = talk or speech), Wangarabuna, Wangarabunna, Wongkurapuna, Wongpurapuna, Wonkurabana, Yendakarangu.

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Arabunna Language program at Marree Aboriginal School

Maree Aboriginal School runs an Arabunna language revitalisation program

Arabunna Language program at Augusta Park Primary School

Augusta Park Primary School runs an Arabunna language revitalisation program

Language Contact

The current contact person for language is:
Dr Veronica Arbon
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The above map is based upon the Horton Indigenous Map of Australia © Aboriginal Studies Press, AIATSIS, and Auslig/Sinclair, Knight, Merz, 1996. The full map is available on the AIATSIS website. The locations of the languages of SA, as stated on the this website are not intended for Land Claim use, and are an approximate guide only. Individual language project locations are based on information from publicly available MILR (ILS) documents.