Screen stories How teachers see the past though historical film
The film Rabbit Proof Fence portrays a period in Australian history where the Australian government tried to forcibly integrate half-caste Aboriginal children into white society. Actor Kenneth Branagh takes on the role of the director of the government-sanctioned program that is promoting forced integration.
In this clip, Branagh is giving a presentation on why these children should be removed from their families. The argument is that the children will be better off because they won't be a part of an "unwanted third race"--they will be better off as part of the white society.
This is a great illustration of the various movements in many societies that have tried to integrate and eliminate the cultures of native peoples. It could be used in the study of Australia, culture, race, integration/assimilation, etc.
Historical Stances Levstik and Barton, 2002
Social Studies Pedagogies
Conflict and drama
Critique and analysis
The film is set in the South so students would be familiar with the history of the area. Students could personally relate to the setting and many would understand the importance of land, especially in rural areas of the state. Other concepts that are featured in the film that students could relate to are ties to home, struggling with money,saving personal possessions and implications of war.
Marcus, Alan S. (2005) "'It is as it was:' Feature Film in the History Classroom." The Social Studies, 96 (2), 61-67.
Marcus, A. S., & Stoddard, J. D. (2007). Tinsel town as teacher: Hollywood film in the high school classroom. History Teacher, 40 (3), 303-330.
Stoddard, J. D., & Marcus, A. S. (2006). The burden of historical representation: Race, freedom, and "educational" Hollywood film. Film & History, 36 (1), 26-35.
Russell, W. (2006). Using film in the social studies . University Press of America
John Lee North Carolina State University [email_address]