Reform the Curriculum to include Aboriginal Culture and Perspectives in History
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How much of the First Nations' culture, history and perspective were taught in schools?
I've grown up knowing my culture and being proud of who I am. As I went through Primary School, there was not enough information that was taught to me about Australia's First Nations. All that was talked about was the arrival of the First Fleet and Captain Cook, which is very culturally sensitive towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People. The First Fleet and the arrival of the British Colonists was the catalyst of many massacres which were ordered by founding governors; such as Governor Lachlan Macquarie.
This lack of Aboriginal perspectives in schools rolled over into High School, where Australian History was glossed over without mention of Aboriginal People's struggle for acceptance. This glossed-over history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People finished when I commenced Aboriginal Studies in Year 11 and 12. This is where our curriculum needs to change.
At the moment, Aboriginal Studies is a subject that can be taught from Year 7-8, it can be chosen as an elective in Year 9-10, and you can also study Aboriginal Studies in Preliminary and HSC years. Our students are missing out on several hundred-thousand years of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history. With more Aboriginal students ever recorded in our schools as studies have shown, the younger generations should be correctly informed on the First Nations' history and affairs.
I believe that all students deserve the chance to learn more about the history and perspective of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture.
Through the introduction of Aboriginal perspectives in our curriculum such as Aboriginal Studies, Students will gain a rich and all-rounded knowledge to a history pushed under the rug and by learning the knowledge of the culture will develop a respect for diversity and understand cultural differences.
The topic of Australian history in regards to colonisation should turn into a comparative study of the Aboriginal perspective as being considered Invasion. By teaching the comparative of European and Aboriginal views of colonisation/invasion, student's will not only access knowledge and understanding about the history and the cultural awareness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people but also provides all students will a rich and well-rounded knowledge of Australia's history.
As a comparison, we should observe at the ways Canadians include the First Nations'; the Métis and the Inuit, and how they create cultural awareness and teach the history in their classrooms. All students in the Alberta Province learn about the history and legacy of the Métis and the Inuit. David Eggen, The Minister of Education and Culture stated that:
"It is critical our students understand the history and vibrant cultures of Indigenous communities and the role we all have to play in reconciliation."
Currently, each state and territory is responsible for what is taught in their schools. We need to have a consistent, national curriculum which provides all NSW students with opportunities to deepen their knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
As NSW is one of the most innovative states, we should take action in acknowledging the history of our First People. With the inclusion, further knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander content could be a foundation towards sovereignty.
Please support this petition to see change and create a hopeful future for acknowledgement and reconciliation of the Aboriginal culture, history and the cultural appropriation.
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