Aboriginal Perspectives in the Primary History Classroom


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A presentation from the SLAV Conference: Re-imagining: Innovation, Evidence and Action

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  • This is a fantastic slide show. I am a secondary teacher trying to encourage middle years teachers to include indigenous perspectives this is a great starting point. Thanks Emma O'Dowd teacher at Padua College Rosebud
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  • Thanks:) I see you are an Aussie too - I'm in Melbourne.

    I'm just learning to play with Web 2.0 and set up my EdBlog just yesterday, see http://lisahillschoolstuff.wordpress.com/

    I think it's going to be fun:)


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  • Great presentation! I'm sure teachers will benefit.
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  • Sorry, some of the hyperlinks I took so much trouble to insert don't work properly. *sigh*
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  • had no idea that the Apology to the Stolen Generations was going to happen so soon, and that a lot of the controversy surrounding it would simply melt away. The so-called ‘history wars’ which filled the newspapers and academic institutions with passionate argument and counter-argument seem to have vanished too. I think that what the Apology showed – with its symbolism and theatre and elements of traditional ceremony - was that no one needs to feel that the achievements of the Australian people are belittled in any way by acknowledging our Aboriginal history and the mistakes that were made. Today I want to show you some ideas that were presented at the History Summer School and illustrate how they can be addressed in a primary school context. There were four presentations on the theme of Aboriginal history and culture. Prof Howard Morphy showed us how to interpret Aboriginal paintings from the Yolnu people, Prof Henry Reynolds suggested ways in which frontier conflict could be taught in schools, Dr Tim Rowse talked about how the passage of Land Rights legislation was affected by public opinion polling and Margo Northey presented some tantalising ideas about how we could include Aboriginal perspectives in the curriculum.
  • Aboriginal Perspectives in the Primary History Classroom

    1. 1. Aboriginal Perspectives in the Primary School Curriculum A Presentation by Lisa Hill Based on ideas from the History Summer School for Teachers, Canberra 2008 Please be aware that this presentation contains the names, images and voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are or may be deceased.
    2. 2. Click here to hear Margo’s ‘Root and Branch Renewal needs a Trunk’ podcast <ul><li>A presentation by Margo Neale, Senior Research Fellow, Senior Curator and Principal Advisor to the Director on Indigenous matters at the National Museum of Australia, and also an Adjunct Professor in the History Program at the Australian National University's Centre for Indigenous History. </li></ul>
    3. 3. The Apology to the Stolen Generations changed everything! <ul><li>Worldwide attention e.g. in Asian and outside Australia House in London, video screening of the Apology (Feb 14 th 2008) </li></ul><ul><li>Symbolism & theatre; Elements of traditional ceremony </li></ul><ul><li>Acknowledging our Aboriginal history and the mistakes that were made. </li></ul>
    4. 4. Now we have… <ul><li>Optimism about Aboriginal issues </li></ul><ul><li>Fledgling bi-partisanship </li></ul><ul><li>A role for teachers to play: fostering a sense of non-indigenous pride in Aboriginal history and culture as an integral part of our national heritage. </li></ul>
    5. 5. Our shared Aboriginal heritage <ul><li>Why do we recognise this painting?? </li></ul><ul><li>The Pioneers by Frederick McCubbin 1907 </li></ul><ul><li>And not this one? </li></ul><ul><li>Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri’s Warlugulong 1977 , most valuable and iconic Aboriginal painting sold recently for $2.4m. </li></ul>
    6. 6. Cultural blindness? <ul><li>Maybe because the Australian Culture and Recreation portal doesn’t mention it on the Australian Painters page? Do they think Aborigines are not Australian? </li></ul><ul><li>Write to [email_address] to let them know what you think about this. </li></ul>
    7. 7. Why is this one famous? Cave painting of bison in Lascaux, France http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Lascaux-aurochs.jpg
    8. 8. And this one isn’t…. <ul><li>Aboriginal rock painting at Namadgi National Park </li></ul><ul><li>It’s 21000 years </li></ul><ul><li>old! </li></ul><ul><li>It’s only 40km from Canberra. </li></ul>http:// en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Namadgi_National_Park
    9. 9. Maybe because the ACT Heritage Register website features a bridge (that couldn’t be more than 100 years old). <ul><li>ACT Heritage Register website http:// www.tams.act.gov.au/live/heritage/act_heritage_register </li></ul>
    10. 10. An attitudinal shift is needed…
    11. 11. Kids love discovering indigenous art if they are guided to understand its styles and symbols.
    12. 12. Aston martin http://www.astonmanor.bham.sch.uk/learningzone/art/movements/aboriginal/ aboriginalart.htm Didges we do http:// www.didgeswedoo.com .au/ aboriginals.html Aboriginal art for sale sites e.g. http:// aboriginalart.com.au / gallery/ iconography.html Useful websites
    13. 13. More useful websites <ul><li>Papunya Tula artists </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.papunyatula.com.au/ </li></ul><ul><li>Aboriginal art online (symbols) </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.aboriginalartonline.com/culture/symbols.php </li></ul><ul><li>Australian Aboriginal Art (symbols) </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.didgeridoos.net.au/aboriginal-symbols.html </li></ul><ul><li>http://australianscreen.com.au/titles/painting-country/clip2/ </li></ul>
    14. 14. Click here to hear the podcast. <ul><li>Anna Clark’s research shows that students are not keen on OzHistory </li></ul>
    15. 15. The 3Rs of Australian History <ul><li>REPETITION of topics </li></ul><ul><li>Inequality of RESOURCES </li></ul><ul><li>Issues of ROTE learning </li></ul>Click here to read more about it in The Australian
    16. 16. When is it interesting?? <ul><li>Active learning – using resources to find evidence for a POV </li></ul><ul><li>Multiple perspectives – discussion opportunities where they can express and test out the opinions of others </li></ul>
    17. 17. A multi-disciplinary approach <ul><li>Use ‘grey literature’ of heritage studies </li></ul><ul><li>Non-text based genres such as art, music, oral traditions – stories, myth & legends found in all our libraries </li></ul><ul><li>Indigenous societies had a system of knowledge transmission that has survived for millennia’ and we can learn from this. </li></ul><ul><li>(Margo Neale, History Summer School presenter) </li></ul>
    18. 18. Suggested topics <ul><li>Lawmakers and lawbreakers </li></ul><ul><li>Gold (mining and minerals </li></ul><ul><li>Farming and Food </li></ul><ul><li>History of an Asian Country (Indonesia) </li></ul><ul><li>How Things Work (Inventions) </li></ul><ul><li>Housing </li></ul><ul><li>Clothing and Ornament </li></ul><ul><li>Explorers </li></ul><ul><li>Sustainability </li></ul><ul><li>Lest We Forget: Our Military History </li></ul><ul><li>Australian literature and art </li></ul>
    19. 19. Lawmakers and lawbreakers <ul><li>40 years before Ned Kelly was hanged, the first hanging in Victoria was carried out. The men had eluded capture for weeks but when finally captured were convicted of agitating against injustice, just as the Eureka rebels were. Justice Redmond Barry tried to have the men reprieved but the sentence was carried out, watched by a huge crowd and botched by the inexperienced hangman. Who were they? </li></ul>
    20. 20. Lawmakers and lawbreakers <ul><li>Their names were Jack and Bobbie. </li></ul><ul><li>Their exploits rivalled those of Ned Kelly, but their names have been forgotten. </li></ul><ul><li>These men were patriots, who died in defence of their country. </li></ul><ul><li>Their story should be included in any study of outlaws and rebels, penal systems and justice. </li></ul>
    21. 21. Gold (minerals and mining) <ul><li>Mining for ochres and tools predates European mining. </li></ul><ul><li>Archaeological evidence of ground ochre pigments in use 20,000 years ago at Nauwalabila in western Arnhem Land and Puritjerra in central Australia . </li></ul><ul><ul><li>( Oxford Companion to Aboriginal Art & Culture, p105) </li></ul></ul>
    22. 22. Farming <ul><li>Contribution to pastoral wages; </li></ul><ul><li>the stolen wages issue; </li></ul><ul><li>the Pilbara strike; and </li></ul><ul><li>the Wave Hill Station industrial action </li></ul>
    23. 23. History of an Asian Country – Indonesia (And LOTE) <ul><li>Contact with Macassans from Indonesia trading trepang (sea cucumber) </li></ul><ul><li>Evidence of early contact from language borrowings and some art work </li></ul><ul><li>Rituals of diplomacy </li></ul>A Macassan wooden prau . http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macassan_contact_with_Australia
    24. 24. How Things Work (Inventions) <ul><li>Brewarrina fish traps </li></ul><ul><li>Glass spear heads </li></ul><ul><li>David Unaipon (1872-1967) invented a multi-radial wheel, a centrifugal motor and an improved shearing handpiece but could never muster enough capital to have his inventions developed. </li></ul>http://www.whitehat.com.au/australia/ Inventions/Aboriginal.asp
    25. 25. Housing <ul><li>Framed shelters in the Atherton area, Qld in 1918 were constructed from grass, leaves or bark. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Source: Macquarie Atlas of Indigenous Australia p 58). </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Variations suited local conditions. </li></ul><ul><li>Shelters varied from temporary windbreaks to constructions that were used over several seasons. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(Source: Macquarie Atlas of Indigenous Australia, p 57) </li></ul></ul>
    26. 26. Clothing <ul><li>Clothing was worn for protection from the elements and to establish gender or group identity. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(Source: Macquarie Atlas of Indigenous Australia, p 57) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Shells were (and still are) used to decorate headbands, pendants, nose ornaments and pubic covers. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(Source: Macquarie Atlas of Indigenous Australia, p 63) </li></ul></ul>
    27. 27. Clothing <ul><li>Clothing was made from animal skins and plant fibres including grass, bark, reeds, palm leaves and seaweed. </li></ul><ul><li>Joins were made with bone needles and toggles. </li></ul><ul><li>Sandals and moccasins were made with skin, bark, or string made of hair or fur. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(Source: Macquarie Atlas of Indigenous Australia, p 63) </li></ul></ul>
    28. 28. Finding your Way (Explorers) <ul><li>Aborigines were the first explorers. </li></ul><ul><li>350 countries here with distinctive groups not unlike Europe with separate languages, cultural practices and a history of connectedness and diversity. </li></ul><ul><li>Maps that define the original territories enjoyed by Aboriginal Tribes (Language Groups) can be found at http://www.didgeridoos.net.au/aboriginal%20australia.html </li></ul><ul><li>Plot sources of myths & legends on the map. </li></ul>
    29. 29. Percy Tresize and Dick Roughsey, co-authors <ul><li>Percy Trezise – author, painter, pilot and rock art historian, awarded OA. </li></ul><ul><li>Dick Roughsey - a Lardil man and artist from Mornington Island,all but forgotten. </li></ul>http://www.bethanga.vic.edu.au/id27.htm
    30. 30. Sustainability <ul><li>Aborigines were experts in land and water management. </li></ul><ul><li>They used fire stick burning to clear forests so that they would revert to grasslands – to lure kangaroos in for hunting. (These most appealing grasslands were the first ones taken up by white settlers.) </li></ul>
    31. 31. Lest We Forget (Australia’s Military History) <ul><li>People who die defending their land against invasion are usually called patriots. </li></ul><ul><li>If the estimate that 20,000 Aborigines died defending their land against invaders is right, they were patriots, in a society whose sacred phrase is Lest We Forget. (Henry Reynolds) </li></ul>
    32. 32. Lest We Forget (Australia’s Military History) <ul><li>It is easy to find C19th documentary evidence of frontier conflict - in newspapers, letters to the editor, sermons and correspondence between Australian authorities and the Colonial Office. </li></ul><ul><li>The constant debate was not about its extent but about whether it could be justified. </li></ul>
    33. 33. Lest We Forget (Australia’s Military History) <ul><li>Resistance to European settlement began within a few weeks of their arrival and continued until 1920s-1930s. </li></ul><ul><li>There was always some conflict somewhere in Australia – often small scale but sometimes erupting into a major issue resulting in the mobilisation of troops. </li></ul><ul><li>Estimates of deaths: 20,000 Aborigines and 200 Europeans. (Henry Reynolds) </li></ul>
    34. 34. Lest We Forget (Australia’s Military History) <ul><li>A mistake to simplify the issue as one of good v evil – it’s morally complex. </li></ul><ul><li>Aboriginal trackers accompanied Europeans in Aboriginal country i.e. they were complicit. Some shot in frontier conflict were shot by Aborigines under European control. </li></ul><ul><li>Many of the clashes were between convicts who were involuntary colonists. </li></ul>
    35. 35. Lest We Forget (Australia’s Military History) <ul><li>Interest in the issue waned in the late C19th & early C20th because </li></ul><ul><ul><li>People believed the Aborigines would die out. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Historians began to write the heroic view of the creation of the Australian nation. </li></ul></ul>
    36. 36. Lest We Forget (Australia’s Military History) <ul><li>Where are the memorials to Aboriginal resistance? </li></ul><ul><li>The Kalkadoon memorial at Battle Mountain, 20 kms SW of Kajabbi near Mt Isa commemorates resistance against a para-military force of European settlers and the Queensland Native Mounted Police in September 1884 . Oxford Companion to Aboriginal Art & Culture p190) </li></ul>
    37. 37. Lest We Forget (Australia’s Military History) <ul><li>Deaths due to frontier violence are a tragic loss, not just to Australia but to the world. We’ve lost: </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge about the environment </li></ul><ul><li>Poetry and song </li></ul><ul><li>Traditions </li></ul><ul><li>Languages </li></ul>
    38. 38. Summing up <ul><li>Choose different parts of Aboriginal history from different places for different purposes. </li></ul><ul><li>Use high quality, authoritative references to learn more. </li></ul><ul><li>Work together with other interested teachers to develop a rich pool of resources to draw on. </li></ul><ul><li>Use 21 st century technologies to engage interest </li></ul>
    39. 39. Recommended references <ul><li>Oxford Companion to Aboriginal Art and Culture by Sylvia Kleinart & Margo Neale </li></ul><ul><li>Macquarie Atlas of Indigenous Australia, edited by Bill Arthur & Frances Morphy </li></ul><ul><li>Australian Dreaming, 40000 Years of Aboriginal History compiled & edited by Jennifer Isaacs </li></ul>
    40. 40. Engaging the Kids - Wikispaces <ul><li>http://www.education.vic.gov.au/ teacher/Global/wiki.htm </li></ul><ul><li>http:// www.wikispaces.com /site/for/teachers </li></ul>
    41. 41. http:// ihistory.wordpress.com / podcasts/ <ul><li>An aural way of telling stories </li></ul><ul><li>A student preferred form of technology </li></ul><ul><li>Integrate it into fieldwork, revision and assessment. </li></ul>Audacity; Wordpress; Blogspot; Podomatic; Feedburner & Box.net. www.podomatic.com http://audacity.sourceforge.net
    42. 42. Find out where you belong… I belong in Melbourne, home of the Wurundjeri People, and I would like to know their stories, as part of my cultural heritage.
    43. 43. The Wurundjeri People <ul><li>www.theage.com.au/news/Arts/Secret-City/2005 </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.melbourne.catholic.org.au/cathedral/aboriginalculture.htm </li></ul><ul><li>Bunjil the Eagle, by Melbourne sculptor Bruce Armstrong, at Docklands. </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.visitvictoria.com/ </li></ul>
    44. 44. Share the journey… <ul><li>We can work together to learn more and develop kid-friendly and appropriate resources using wikis and podcasts. </li></ul><ul><li>We can help each other to learn how to use Web 2.0 tools to do this. </li></ul><ul><li>http://lisahillschoolstuff.wordpress.com/ </li></ul>