Pertame School

We are Pertame (Southern Arrernte) people from the Finke River, 120km south of Alice Springs. Our language is critically endangered, with less than 20 fluent speakers left. We are deeply worried that Southern Arrernte language identity could fall asleep when they pass on. This is why we are working as a family to perserve our language and culture by running on-country camps.


  • Four language and culture camps on-country at the family outstation
  • Led by Southern Arrernte elders and supported by adults
  • To teach Southern Arrernte children language, songs, stories and responsibilities
  • To inspire and enable Southern Arrernte children to care for their language, heritage, Country and each other
  • To support the Australian Curriculum in Language Maintenance
  • To facilitate intergenerational and peer to peer learning
  • To enable Elders to fulfil their cultural obligations as First Teachers
  • To develop the skills of Southern Arrernte adults in areas such as meeting facilitation, media skills, project management, teaching and lesson planning. Pertame school is developed and lead by Arrernte people, for Arrernte people.  

“I want to teach my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren our language and
show our country to them so they can think and talk in Pertame. Our old people, poor
things, have all passed away now. There are only a few of us left to teach our kid how
our old people used to live” – Christobel Swan 2013