Jack Kanya Buckskin is a Kaurna, Narrunga and Wirangu man, born in the Adelaide Plains region who has for well over ten years dedicated himself to learning and sharing the Kaurna language and culture. He is the most fluent Kaurna speaker since efforts were initiated to reclaim and re-introduce the language. Jack became a fluent Kaurna speaker in adulthood through working directly with the historical materials, teaching the language, sending messages in Kaurna to his students, speaking the language to his dogs and later to his own children.
Jack began his engagement with the Kaurna language through dance performance. Together with Steve Gadlabarti Goldsmith he was part of the Taikurtinna Kaurna dance group, but has since formed his own dance group called Kuma Kaaru ‘one blood’. Jack and Kuma Kaaru have also been given the opportunity to showcase dance, language and culture internationally, having been invited to perform and speak in a number of countries, including Malaysia, India, Nauru, Canada, United States and Austria.’
Jack has taught Kaurna at Warriparinga through the School of Languages, Salisbury High School, Kaurna Plains School, Le Fevre HS and at Adelaide HS. He also worked at the University of Adelaide recording sound files for the Southern Kaurna Placenames project, Kaurna Warra Ngayirda Wingkurila and other KWP projects.
Jack is raising his three young children Mahleah Kudlyu Kartanya, Vincent Nguku Warritya and Jackson Puntuntu Kudnuitya speaking Kaurna, who appear to be emerging as at least semi-native speakers of the language..
In 2011 Jack was recognised as South Australia’s Young Australian of the Year, and by Port-Adelaide-Enfield Council with an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander award in 2018 for his contribution to the arts. In 2013 Dylon McDonald released a documentary portraying Kanya’s engagement with his Kaurna language and culture simply titled 'Buckskin'.