First Nations Advisory Council
Jeanine LeaneArtistic/Poetic Mentor
Jeanine Leane is a Wiradjuri writer, poet and academic from south-west New South Wales
Daryn McKennyLanguage Mentor
Daryn McKenny is co-founder of Miromaa Aboriginal Language & Technology Centre. He is a passionate Aboriginal person and proudly acknowledges his traditional heritage to the Gamilaraay and Wiradjuri nations. Born and raised on Awabakal country on the east coast of NSW, Australia, his journey in languages commenced with leading a community-based reclamation of the Awabakal language.
In 2004, this journey changed with the need to find ways to empower Aboriginal people to be further at the forefront of keeping our languages safe. He turned to technology and created a computer application aptly titled ‘Miromaa’. This word loosely translates to mean: “to save, to protect, to stop from further loss”. That became his journey – to assist Indigenous people where ever they are to stop their language from further loss through the empowerment of technology. Today, Daryn and Miromaa are internationally recognised, and this small Aboriginal organisation has been called upon to support language conservation around the world, providing support to 150-plus languages in Australia and the Torres Strait, and over 100 languages throughout the rest of the world with the majority of these in North America.
Daryn is also the founder of the Puliima National Indigenous Language & Technology Conference, which has been held in Australia since 2007.
He is a founding director of First Languages Australia and a former Advisory Circle member for the Institute on Collaborative Language Research (CoLang) in the US.
His passion today is how we can continue to be empowered with technology to allow us to save our languages, which will, in turn, help us continue to care for our country. Language is the gateway that will allow us to understand that. It is the key.
Appointed to the Red Room Poetry Board in 2020.