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Publication & Copyright This publication is copyright – NSW Reconciliation Council, January 2013. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study, research, criticism or review as permitted under the Copyright Act, no part may be reproduced without permission with the exception of photocopying for use by teachers with reproduction maintaining original format and text. This kit makes use of material produced by the NSW Board of Studies (pages 4-5). The NSW Board of Studies should be consulted separately on the issue of reproduction. ISBN 978-0-646-59335-7 Design: Matt Roden ( Note to Reader Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are warned that this publication contains reference to deceased persons. Effort has been undertaken to ensure that the information contained in this book is correct, and the NSWRC regrets any offence that errors or omissions may cause. Throughout this publication, the terms Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander are used wherever possible. In the interests of readability, we use the terms Indigenous and non-Indigenous to refer to the relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and non-Indigenous Australians. No disrespect is intended by the authors.

Endorsement The 2013 Schools Reconciliation Challenge Teaching Kit is proudly endorsed and supported by the Aboriginal Disability Network NSW and the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group.

Acknowledgements and Contributors Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation (ANTaR), Recognise (Reconciliation Australia), the Australian Museum, NSW AECG, Aboriginal Affairs NSW, Department of Family and Community Services, NSW Board of Studies, Jason Wing, Anthony Fowler, Abe Worthington, Liam McLoughlin, Rose Macdonald, Emma Franklin, Leanne Townsend , Aboriginal Disability Network NSW, Liz Perfect, Ros Thomas, Association of Independent Schools of NSW, Independent Education Union NSW/ACT. Enquiries

Telephone: (02) 9562 6355 Email: This Teaching Kit is available online:

Teaching Kit

Enter Now! 2 Prizes 2

ART ACTIVITIES 6 Australia Representation 7 Place Speaking Up 7 Language Identity 8

The Australian Museum 3 Why Use Art to Explore Reconciliation? 3 Learning Outcomes and Objectives for Years 5-6 3

8 9 9


The New South Wales Reconciliation Council 3


Learning Outcomes and Objectives for Years 7-10 3

Young People 10 from NSW Say Something!

Jason Wing, Aboriginal Artist, Says Something!


Anthony Fowler, Young Aboriginal Artist, Says Something!

Culturally Appropriate Teaching

Considerations when Developing Teaching Programs 4 Strategies for Teaching Aboriginal Students 5 Terminology 5


17 1

Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Peoples: A Long, Rich, and Diverse History 18 2 Invasion and Resistance 19 3 Protection and the Stolen Generations 20

4 Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Activism and Leadership 21 5

Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Australians and the Creative Arts 22


Self-determination 23


Inequality 24


Reconciliation 25

Schools Reconciliation Challenge 2013 Entry Forms

Reconciliation in Your School 26

Language Map PULL OUT poster 14

Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Australians 27 School Reconciliation Road Map 28

Form 29 * Entry Artist Statement 30 *Terms and Conditions 31

TEACHING KIT 29 January – 12 April 2013 The Art of Reconciliation: Through the Eyes of Young People

Australian community. Schools play an important role in building cohesive communities and are vital starting points for respectful and positive relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. This Teaching Kit is a resource for teachers, students and others with an interest in Reconciliation. Use any of the ideas, tools and references in this kit to inspire and inform lessons in the Visual Arts. It can also be used in Aboriginal Studies, English, History, Human Society in its Environment, and Australian Studies.

The Schools Reconciliation Challenge is an annual art competition for young people from years 5-10; Indigenous and non-Indigenous; of all abilities. The competition is an exciting opportunity for students to have their artistic voices heard as well as showcase your school’s commitment to Reconciliation.

Selected artworks from across NSW will be exhibited at the Australian Museum from May to August 2013 and launched during Reconciliation Week (27 May – 3 June).

Reconciliation is about improving relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the broader

The Schools Reconciliation Challenge is open to everyone from years 5-10, living in NSW.

Schools Reconc il NSW Reconciliiaation Chal enge 1 -13 MansfieldtSion Council tree Glebe NSW t2 037

1. Explore Reconciliation and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australia using the toolkit

Entries close 12 April 2013. Send to…

2. Create a 2D, maximum A1 size artwork about Reconciliation, using the theme:

3. Complete a copy of the entry form on page 29 and artist statement on page 30 4. Read the terms & conditions on page 31



* * * *

All entries: Certificate of Participation Selected entries: Professional mounting and framing of work Sponsored travel to attend exhibition launch in Sydney Artwork exhibited at the Australian Museum, May - Aug 2013

The New South Wales Reconciliation Council

The Australian Museum The Australian Museum is the Schools Reconciliation Challenge exhibition partner, and one of Australia’s leading public institutions. Its purpose is to inspire the exploration of nature and cultures. It has proudly supported the Schools Reconciliation Challenge since 2011. Visit the museum at: 6 College Street Sydney, NSW 2010, or online at

The NSW Reconciliation Council is a non-government, not-for-profit organisation. It is the peak representative body for Reconciliation in NSW. Our purpose is to advance Reconciliation by promoting the development of equitable and just communities which acknowledge and respect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, cultures and values. Visit us online at

Why Use Art to Explore Reconciliation?

Learning Outcomes This teaching kit is for use in primary and secondary schools. The art activities have been developed to align with the Aims, Objectives and Outcomes of the K-6 Creative Arts and 7-10 Visual Arts Syllabuses (NSW Board of Studies, 2006), but can be used across a range of subjects, age groups and ability levels.

Reconciliation means bringing together Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians through building mutual respect and understanding, whilst acknowledging the past and its continuing impact. Learning about Reconciliation helps students become active and socially aware citizens, passionate about creating respectful communities based on equality. Art can assist students to engage in complex subject matter through the visual representation of stories and ideas. The Schools Reconciliation Challenge gives students an opportunity to explore both Indigenous and nonIndigenous art; its cultural and historical significance; and to use it as a vehicle to comment and reflect on contemporary Australian life.

For Years 5 – 6 Students Students will engage with both making and appreciating art, as well as:

* * * *

Investigate subject matter and represent likenesses of things in the world; Assemble materials in a variety of ways and for different audiences; Acknowledge and value different opinions; Communicate about the ways in which subject matter is represented in artworks.

For Years 7 – 10 Students Students will explain, interpret and make judgements about art, and refine their own practice, as well as:

* * * *

Express the relationship between artist, artwork, world and audience; Explore how social and cultural ideas create meaning and significance; Understand the development of meaning in different times and places; Innovate in artmaking and representation in their work.



Culturally Appropriate Teaching ‘“,, Each of us is unique. We are different. We are all Australians and call this home. Let us rejoice in our diversity and difference because it is they that will enrich us.,,’

Considerations when Developing Teaching Programs The following section is reproduced in its entirety with permission from the Board of Studies NSW, and provides a guide for teachers to develop inclusive and appropriate teaching and learning activities.


Discourage students from copying or using Aboriginal signs or symbols in their own artmaking. This not only causes great offence to Aboriginal people, but also infringes copyright. Students should be encouraged to develop their own symbolic visual language when learning about the systems of symbolic meaning in Aboriginal artworks.

* *

Ensure that any resources used are culturally sensitive and appropriate. If in doubt, consult with Aboriginal people.


Avoid aspects of Aboriginal art containing sacred or secret or ‘inside’ information. It is inappropriate to address this area in classroom situations; most Aboriginal people would find it offensive. However, it is important that students are informed about this issue and learn to respect it. Aboriginal artists or advisors may provide some background to this issue.

Integrate other aspects of Aboriginal art and culture, such as the oral tradition, the performing arts, song, and dance wherever possible.


Encourage an understanding of Aboriginal culture as a dynamic living culture which, like all cultures, adjusts to change and has a history.


Avoid reference to traditional Aboriginal culture as ‘primitive’, ‘Stone Age’, or ‘simple’, as these terms are highly offensive.


Culturally Appropriate Teaching

Patrick Dodson

Yawuru man and National Aboriginal Leader


Follow correct protocols when using works by an Aboriginal artist who has died. Students should be aware that in some communities the mentioning of names and display of photographs of people who have died are signs of disrespect to them and their families. Permission must be sought from families to show images of the deceased.


Discourage generalised or stereotypical characterisations of Aboriginal art, artists, culture or communities. Make specific reference to place, time, people and events, and draw attention to the rich diversity that exists within Aboriginal societies and the art produced.


Recognise how contemporary Aboriginal art can adapt Western art forms and new technologies and media, and still communicate cultural knowledge and express Aboriginality.


Keep informed of significant developments and innovations in the ways Aboriginal art practice, forms and media change over time. There are numerous magazines, catalogues and newspapers that have current information.

Strategies for Teaching Aboriginal Students

* *

Wherever possible employ an Aboriginal artist, dancer or storyteller to work with the students in the classroom.


Enrich the classroom environment by displaying positive affirmations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and art.


Provide Aboriginal students with opportunities to enrich and affirm their cultural identity if they choose to do so. Do not assume that all students will have the desire to do this. Teachers need to recognise that Aboriginal students, like other students, learn in a variety of ways, have special needs and come from cultures with very rich and diverse creative arts traditions. Teachers need to be flexible in their delivery of programs and in the way they respond to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students’ learning styles.


Avoid stereotyping Aboriginal students by their physical attributes or the way they learn, as this will have negative effects on them. It is best teaching and learning practice to meet the needs of all students as learners from a variety of cultural backgrounds.


Acknowledge and recognise Aboriginal English as the home language of many Aboriginal students; use it as a building block within the classroom.


Develop an awareness of otitis media and other health problems affecting learning outcomes for Aboriginal students.

Acknowledge that Aboriginal students will not necessarily be well informed about all aspects of their cultural heritage. Some will know a great deal while others might know little.


Acknowledge that some Aboriginal students will need time for family commitments, cultural traditions and events that affect their daily lives.


Encourage the Aboriginal Education Assistant to participate in classroom activities; they are able to offer support for the students and teachers.

‘“,, Language is very important to us, it is our connection to our ancestors and for those of us who still use our language can connect with the ancestors of the past. We belong to the land; without the land we are nothing. Our life blood comes from the land and what is of the land. Language holds secrets to the connection of the land.‘“,,

Aunt Phyllis Darcy, Awabakal Descendant

Terminology Terminology changes over time within Aboriginal culture and communities. The following is a selection of terms to help teachers with the sensitive implementation of the units of work.


Avoid using words such as legends and myths when referring to the Dreaming or Dreaming stories. Dreaming is preferred to Dreamtime as the latter refers to the past, and is not inclusive of the present and the future.


Aboriginal people is the preferred term. Aborigine is an outdated term and can often offend some Aboriginal people.


Torres Strait Islanders do not consider themselves Aboriginal people. There are similarities and differences between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.

* *

In any writing activity, the word Aboriginal should always be written using a capital ‘A’.


Torres Strait Islanders refer to their traditional stories as legends rather than Dreaming stories.

It is unacceptable to use the terms half-caste or full blood when referring to Aboriginal people. This is highly offensive.



Aboriginal people will often refer to themselves as Koori, Murri, Noonga etc. These names refer to a particular group or area to which they belong. They are not general terms and should not be used as such.

Use terms such as group, nation, language group or cultural group rather than the word tribe, as it is now outdated terminology. Some Aboriginal people refer to themselves as traditional, not tribal.

Culturally appropriate teaching




This Tool Kit contains:

art activities – pages 6 to 9 case studies and NSW Languages Map – pages 10 to 17 fact sheets – pages 18 to 25 Use them to create your Say Something! artwork, and then submit it to the Schools Reconciliation Challenge with an entry form and artist statement - pages 29 and 30. Afterwards, use the Next Steps section to continue your school’s Reconciliation journey – pages 26 to 28.


Each activity provides classroom inspiration categorised for quick reference into the following sections: EXPLORE - introduces Reconciliation concepts to investigate with your students. CREATE - provides lesson ideas to actively engage your students in the Schools Reconciliation Challenge by Saying Something! BE INSPIRED - by links to resources and artists. Activities are flexible and can stand alone or form part of a larger unit of work, and be adapted for appropriate year level or ability.



. .about Stories

EXPLORE: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander oral history traditions and sharing of culture, as well as different ways of telling stories through various mediums. Examine interpretation and reinterpretation of stories and culture over time, with reference to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous traditions. How can different stories be interwoven, reinterpreted and layered across time and place?


CREATE: Individually, students use time lapse photography or a pinhole camera to tell a story over time, exploring how the stories are reworked, recreated and changed. OR

In groups, students build a concertinaed set of two images at right angles to each other, portraying different perspectives of one story. Consider different stories and how they complement each other.


As a class, students create a ‘family tree’ mapping the class’ connections to each other; through family, friendships, shared interests or histories.


Invite an Aboriginal Elder to share stories about the local area, or research local stories as a class. Using their imagination, students then develop and create their own stories visually.


Individually or in small groups, use screen printing, etching or weaving to combine and layer stories together.


In pairs and in silence, students take turns to make an oil pastel or crayon base drawing, then use a watercolour wash overlay to tell a different story over the top, exploring communicating stories without words.


Individually, students research comic strip styles and use them to tell a local Reconciliation story, going as far back in time as they can.

VISIT A local Aboriginal cultural centre or significant cultural site.

* READ children’s books of Bronwyn Bancroft or Sally Morgan. * The Barani Barrabugu, Sydney’s Aboriginal Journey, a guide Sydney from an Aboriginal perspective, available * toonline at:

BaraniBarrabuguYesterdayTommorrow.htm. Seek out local references similar to Barani Barrabugu in your local area. stories at: * Dreaming WATCH 1968 short film; Powers of Ten by Ray and Charles Eames * The to explore perspective. The film depicts the relative scale of the Universe in factors of ten. Available at:

* LOOK story-telling artworks of Ian W. Abdulla and Roy Kennedy. * AtAt the Mawalan Marika’s artwork; The Milky Way, c.1965, on the * Australian National Gallery’s website: Dreaming stories at:


* At the mixed media landscapes of Joshua Yeldham. HELP US CAPTURE YOUR STORIES! 6

Got a camera or a smart phone? Snap a photo and post it on Instagram or Twitter with the tag #saysomething2013, or post it to the page. The photo could be of students working together, an image that speaks to you, a school mural, an artwork in progress, or anything that inspires you! Then search #saysomething2013 and see how other teachers and students in NSW are using art to Say Something! about Reconciliation.





. .about Representation


Representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the media, as well as in art from first contact to the present. Discuss the fact that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are often subject to negative stereotypes, and how this type of representation feeds bias and racism. Compare and contrast this with more positive modes of representation; in Aboriginal and Torres Strait media (the Koori Mail, for example) and by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists.


Individually, students deconstruct a negative image or media item about Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Australia, then reconstruct it, creating a new, positive angle on the subject matter.


Using Jason Wing’s artwork; Australia Was Stolen by Armed Robbery (see page 12), as an example, students juxtapose found objects to subvert a dominant story (photograph the work if 3D for competition eligibility).


As a class, investigate comic book or storyboard styles, then students individually re-tell a story from a different, positive perspective.


Using digital media, students construct an artwork which challenges stereotypes by changing, refuting or disproving outdated or negative representations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

* * * *

READ ABC The Drum’s satirical piece; How to Write About Aboriginal Australia: A critical perspective on reporting in the mainstream media: LOOK Compare and contrast reporting in the Koori Mail and on NITV to non-Indigenous media sources. At colonial portraiture such as Sydney Parkinson’s drawing; Two of the Natives of New Holland, Advancing to Combat, 1770; or John Glover’s painting; A Corrobery of Natives in Van Dieman’s Land, 1840.


At contemporary Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander artistic representations of identity such as Bindi Cole’s series; Not Really Aboriginal, 2008; or the work of Adam Hill or Destiny Deacon.

* *

At Danie Mellor’s artwork, which subverts old symbols for new meaning. At the political and satirical work of Richard Bell and the Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art collective; proppaNOW.

EXPLORE: Activism and resistance in Australia in both the past and present. For example, the 1967 referendum, the current Constitutional Recognition campaign, and the 1965 Freedom Ride. Discuss these issues in their broader socio-political context. Examine powerful protest images and elaborate on propaganda techniques and visual messaging, drawing links between politics and art.



. .about Speaking Up BE INSPIRED: READ




In groups, students make agitprop signs or banners for the current Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders campaign. Individually, students create a portrait of an influential Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander activist. Using graffiti style stencils, paste-ups and stickers, and developing a slogan, students create powerful activist posters for an issue of their choice. As a class, design a stencil for a poster and “mass produce” it – each student then creates their own take on the stencil. Individually, students create artwork which “speaks up” without words: considering the importance of symbols or other types of communication such as Braille.


Nigel Parbury’s 2005 book; Survival: A History of Aboriginal Life in New South Wales, Department of Aboriginal Affairs, Sydney.

* * *

At the work of Shepard Fairy, Jason Wing, Banksy and other street artists.

* * * *

At Adam Hill’s 2012 sculpture; Really Bin #1.


At the photomontage style of Barbara Kruger. At the political and satirical work of Richard Bell and the Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art collective proppaNOW. VISIT for information about the Constitutional Recognition campaign. to connect with Accessible Arts, the peak arts and disability organisation in NSW. to explore an online collection of Australian protest posters. TOOL KIT: ART ACTIVITIES 2 + 3






. .about Identity

The lives and achievements of Indigenous and non-Indigenous role models, both local and with high public profiles. Discuss students’ personal aspirations and what it means to “be you”. Explore how identities are shaped by experience, background and culture.

BE INSPIRED: READ about the intersecting identities of young artists * Anwitharticle a disability: About past Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians of the * Year award recipients at:

CREATE: Individually, students paint or photograph a portrait of an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander role model.



At Ricky Maynard’s photographic collection; Portraits of a Distant Land, 2005. A short documentary about Maynard’s collection is available online at: messagestick/stories/s2377561.htm.

* At Juno Gemes’ 2003 photography; PROOF, Portraits from Movement 1978-2003, at: * the exhibitions/proof/index.htm.


Individually, students create self-portraits, using different materials to add layers of identity such as fabric, watercolour wash, PVA glue or thread.


As a class, students conduct a ‘local hero’ photography essay, creating one place full of many different inspiring identities.


Using contemporary media, such as spray paint, stencils, text and printing, students create a street-style artwork about an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander role model.


In pairs, students take time to learn about each other, and then create portraits of their peers which represent identity, not just appearance.

At Mervyn Bishop’s portrait photography.

Andrew’s artwork; Portrait of Marcia Langton, 2010. * AtAt Brook the work of non-Indigenous portrait artists such as Brett * Whiteley, Francis Bacon and Frida Kahlo.




. .about Australia

The role of art and image as a means of communication; examine symbolism in relation to national identity – for example our flags and famous images of Australia. Imagine Australia as it is, and discuss how students would like it to be. Explore how Australia could celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures more openly and publicly, and brainstorm new symbols to represent students’ ideas.

CREATE: Individually, students create a new flag for Australia: using collage, thread and other materials to add richness. OR

In groups, students re-enact and photograph inspiring moments in Australia’s history – perhaps the 1975 return of Gurindji land by Gough Whitlam, images of the 1965 Freedom Ride, or the 2008 Apology.


As a class, create a photomontage about Reconciliation today, using images and mixed media.


Individually, students construct Reconciliation posters for use in their school or community.


Using Lin Onus’ sculpture; Fruit Bats (1991) as inspiration, students juxtapose different Australian symbols together: an Akubra, a pair of thongs, a possum or a hills hoist, for example. The aim is to create a new symbol of ‘Australianness’ which reflects both Indigenous and non-Indigenous perspectives.




* * *

At symbolic appropriation by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, such as Jason Wing, Gordon Syron and Lin Onus.

* *

The online collection at the State Library:

At visual metaphors in Jandamarra Cadd’s artwork; United Journey, 2007. At activist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists Richard Bell, Vernon Ah Kee and the proppaNOW collective. VISIT The online collection at the National Archives: http://www.


Remember to explain to students that it is not appropriate to copy traditional techniques, and work with them to develop their own type of stylised pattern work.

CREATE: As a class, visit a locally significant Aboriginal site. Students then use it to inspire an artwork about that place, using their own style of pattern work. OR

Individually, students tell stories of place using only local materials. Try bark textures, stone dust, or create dyes from fruits, leaves or tea. Wrap the artwork in twine before dying for interesting markings. Students can also add found objects such as butterfly wings or pressed flowers.


Individually, students write or draw a comic strip about an important feature of the land and its uses and meanings to people over time.


In groups, students create a shared representation of the concept of ‘home’, considering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander understandings of connectedness.

. .about Place BE INSPIRED: VISIT

* LOOK At Kim Healey’s artwork; Spirit Tree, 2008; Clifford Possum painting; Warlugulong, 1977; and Kevin Gilbert’s * Tjapaltjarri’s print; My Father’s Studio, 1965. An Aboriginal cultural centre or significant local site.

* or Brett Whiteley. At Albert Namatjira’s fusion of European and Aboriginal * artforms. At autistic artist Stephen Wiltshire’s sketches of city skylines * from memory: At the emotive landscapes of Joshua Yeldham, Sidney Nolan


The work of Indigenous and non-Indigenous poets, such as

Noonuccal (Kath Walker), Les Murray or Judith * Oodgeroo Wright.

EXPLORE: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages, particularly current, local language revitalisation projects. Discuss the relationship between language and culture, the specificity of language to place, and the power of non-verbal communication. If possible, learn words from a local Aboriginal language.

. .about Language BE INSPIRED:



As a class, students learn some AUSLAN or Braille and use those languages to Say Something! about Reconciliation.


As a class, students develop an artwork around the important word ‘Sorry’ in the context of the 2008 Apology, exploring the meaning and power contained in words.


Individually, students use words to create images – filling a scene with text which describes Reconciliation.


As a class, students write Reconciliation messages on their hands or another surface. The class then uses those images to create a collaborative work about Reconciliation.


Each student makes a letter or word block out of potatoes, lino or wood; then shares them with their peers, printing on individual artworks.



Remember that permission should be sought from the local Aboriginal community to teach and learn these languages.

Individually, students print, etch or carve words or ideas of local significance, utilising repetition and pattern making.



The importance of land and sea in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures. Discuss Aboriginal Dreaming and Torres Strait Islander Legends, and relationships to Country. Use an analysis of Aboriginal art to aid discussion of the importance and significance of land; including cross-hatching, aerial style paintings, tree carving, bark paintings and contemporary use of found objects.


* *

News and links to NSW language resources: http:// www. About The Apology and access images and further information: apology/home.html. VISIT


The Holding our Tongues website for information on language preservation: holdingourtongues/. LOOK

* *

At Vernon Ah Kee and Richard Bell’s striking use of words in art. At Australian street and graffiti art: Exhibition/SPACEINVADERS/Default.cfm?MnuID=3&GallD=0.




Young People from NSW

In schools all across NSW, young people are speaking up about Reconciliation. Below are some of the outstanding and inspiring artworks from the 2012 Schools Reconciliation Challenge.

by Brent Gosling, Year 10, Korowal School, Hazelbrook Each year around twelve Blue Mountains schools take up the Schools Reconciliation Challenge collaboratively. Voluntary groups and community service providers in the local community coordinate workshops in schools led by Aboriginal artists between February and April. The collaboration builds positive relationships with the local Aboriginal community, Reconciliation groups and the schools. Following the program, a local exhibition is hosted at one of the participating schools, after which the artworks are entered in the Schools Reconciliation Challenge. Take your participation in the Schools Reconciliation Challenge further by collaborating with your local community to hold workshops and a special exhibition in your school.

by Years 7 & 8 Students, Hawkesbury High School

“,,All our photographs were taken on mobile phones to represent the common ways young people stay in touch and share stories. The hands represent a physical connection between people: a symbol of love, support and protection. The texts on the palms represent the way each student feels about reconciliation and their desire for the future of reconciliation.,,� Using easily accessible mobile technology is a great way to engage students around a concept. Be imaginative with smart phones, digital media and online communication tools. 10


by Years 5 & 6 Students, Queanbeyan South Public School

“,,Our place, Australia, is surrounded by sea and the people who live here are many and varied. The faces on our artwork represent these people. They have been cut out to form jigsaw puzzle pieces, some join together, but others have a bit more work to do to join in and help complete the big picture. The gaps in our jigsaw are filled with various skin toned colours which represents that there are spaces for other people and future generations.,, Students of different abilities at Queanbeyan South Public School developed a collaborative artwork which reflected shared experiences as Australians. Their artwork; Reflecting on Reconciliation, shows that everybody has a role to play in Reconciliation. The use of a mirror in the centre of the artwork engages the audience in the work and provokes thought about Reconciliation on a personal level. Bringing together students with different abilities to collaborate on a Reconciliation artwork is a positive way to encourage understanding between students.

Branching Out by Year 6 Students, North Haven Primary School, and Year 10 Students, Camden Haven High School

by Years 9 & 10 Students, Lincoln School Dubbo The students at Lincoln School, part of Orana Juvenile Justice Centre, used digital media to reinterpret the ancient tradition of tree carving. Firstly, the students explored the practice of carving trees - a Wiradjuri and Gamilaroi tradition from NSW. The students then invented their own symbols and used digital media to create a ‘virtual carved tree’ using a new visual language. You could work with students to develop unique pattern making styles to describe the landscape; remembering that it is inappropriate to copy Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander patterns or designs.

Camden Haven High School and North Haven Primary School worked together on a single artwork – with year 10 and year 6 students creating a piece of art which reflected life in their community.

“,,We used photos in our artwork to show the images that link us all together. We then drew trees and incorporated all the objects and images together to make a collaborative artwork that shows our link to the land we live on.“,, Encouraging collaboration between older and younger students is a positive way to shape attitudes towards Reconciliation for young students. TOOL KIT: CASE STUDY 1



Jason Wing is an artist with both Aboriginal and Chinese heritage. Jason attributes his love for “contradictory energies” to his diverse background and creates artworks which often merge traditional symbols and techniques with the contemporary. In 2012, Jason was the recipient of the NSW Parliament Aboriginal Art Prize with his provocative work Australia Was Stolen By Armed Robbery, pictured below.

Jason Wing, image courtesy of artist.

l Artist

On Jason I am a Biripi man from the Taree region, born and raised in Cabramatta. I grew up in both a black and white world; I guess I feel like I can provide a neutral and balanced account. I am a kinaesthetic learner, which means my brain is hard-wired for visual communication, which has helped me understand how to grab people’s attention in a split second and convey a deep message very fast. I failed most academic subjects at school, but art helped me express myself and increase my self-esteem.

“,,Art made me realise that there are many different , Image supplied and reproduced with permission of the artist.

forms of success and intelligence in the world.

The only thing worth saying is the truth. The second most important thing to say is how you feel… about anything. I believe every person’s story is valid and the more perspectives and outlooks there are in the world, the better for society. It is important to think for yourself and question the status quo. Be critical, and remember that every historian, author, journalist, or government will have their own perspective and agenda. As Australians, we are in an incredible position when it comes to free speech, so we should take full advantage of this. It is essential that we speak up to expose injustices to our fellow human beings. For Aboriginal people, it is also important to speak to keep our culture alive.

Art has always been integral in terms of creating social change. It is a vehicle through which a conversation can be started. The artwork is one half of the conversation, and the discussion it provokes in the audience is the other. Young people are particularly good with visual language, and artistic expression helps develop critical thinking skills. My advice to young people is to speak your mind and experiment with all forms of art. Don’t lock yourself into one style or medium. Something that is really exciting is the potential of photography and multimedia, which is a particular strength of the younger generations.

,I believe that all people can comment on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander is, sues because they are human issues.

I know Indigenous people who aren’t interested in their culture and non-Indigenous people who have spent their whole lives fighting for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights. The more people become involved, the better for everyone. When good people say nothing, evil triumphs. 12


Jason Wing, 2012. People like to use words like ‘colonised’ and ‘settled’ to describe what happened here in 1788; but these words obscure the fact that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were intentionally invaded, dispossessed and murdered at the hands of governments. Winston Churchill said, “History will be kind to me as I intend to write it.” My artwork is my attempt to rewrite Australian history from an Aboriginal perspective, through art. But the artwork is not just a comment on history; it is also a reminder that the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people continue to be violated today. Captain Cook is a symbol for any person who fails to treat Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with the dignity, respect, and human rights we deserve. The Northern Territory Intervention, which the Federal Government recently extended, is the latest version of this injustice. The Intervention promotes fear of Aboriginal people and portrays them as alcoholics and drug addicts. The United Nations has even condemned this treatment of Aboriginal people as a violation of human rights.

, I would argue that it is the Australian Government who are the, criminals, not the Aboriginal people.

LIFT OUT WALL POSTER This page is intended to be blank


NSW is made up of around



Aboriginal Nations, each with their own language or language group.


Prior to 1788, over 250 different languages were spoken across Australia!

For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, language is not merely a means of communication, it is an important medium through which culture is carried.

For more information visit: * * *

UAGES IN NSW . .in a local Australian Language! Kamilaroi



: guwaa-li * ToTo speak sing : buwi-li * Message : maang * Languagestick : gari * Magpie : burrugaabu *


and look : ngalga * SitStoryteller : yellamundie * Country: nuru * Water : badu * Food : bada 2 *



Currently there are around words, from 80 different languages, which are commonly used in the English language‌ and this number continues to grow.


* * * * *


Sister : minhi Brother : gagamin Naughty : wanggun Friend : maamungun Ancestors : balumbambal

Aboriginal languages are at high risk of becoming lost. Schools can play an important role in revitalising these ancient languages by learning words and using them in the classroom.

-in-australian-english * *

LIFT OUT WALL POSTER This page is intended to be blank

This map is one representation of other map sources. It indicates only the general location of larger groupings of people. Boundaries are not intended to be exact.

Anthony Fowler, image courtesy of artist.


Having a disability is no obstacle to being an artist. In fact, some of the best art in the world is made by people who live with disabilities, and who use art as a means to communicate with the world. Frida Kahlo made striking self portraits despite wearing a body brace, Monet depicted beautiful landscapes even after he lost most of his vision from cataracts, Beethoven overcame complete deafness to be one of the most famous composers of all time, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was a pioneer of the post-impressionist movement despite being unable to use his legs. People who live with a disability often have a unique perspective on life; it is this uniqueness that has the potential to be transformed into distinctive and expressive artworks.

,, I think a person,s identity impacts on the way they see the world, how they interact with it, and ultimately how they produce art. ,,

My eyesight has forced me to take a different perspective on what photography is and what a photo can mean to different eyes. I take that into consideration whenever I take a photo, because I want to be able to share it with all

Images supplied and reproduced with permission of the artist.

My identity is a huge part of who I am: I am 21, was born in Blacktown, but spent most of my life in Blaxland in the Blue Mountains. Mum’s side of the family is Aboriginal and my father is Kiwi. At school it was me and maybe one or two other Aboriginal kids in a predominantly white, middle class environment...

I was putting it on. Similar things have happened to me in the past, and I used to get really upset. But now I just sort of turn around and say, “Well excuse me mate, you’re not my ophthalmologist”. I hope the exhibition will go some way towards illustrating that point, that just because I have a severe vision impairment, it doesn’t mean I’m helpless and unable to do the things I love.

I see things differently – literally – because I have a lot less vision than most people. I have a condition called retinitis pigmentosa, which means my sight has been getting progressively worse since birth. So, where normally you would have 180 degrees of field vision, I now only have 2 degrees. And that’s only in my left eye. I have no vision in my right eye, and eventually I’ll lose my sight altogether. I know it seems horrible, but it’s a reality I face everyday so I’ve gotten pretty used to the idea – you just gotta get on with life. I’ve always loved photography. I don’t know what started it – I remember as a kid my family always had some sort of camera hanging around. I suppose something must have clicked. I like taking photos of everyday things at random moments, like a lamp, or an escalator, or people at a bus stop. I think we should learn to enjoy the little things more, instead of just rushing through every day.

,, For me, photography is partly about capturing an image and partly about making a statement. ,, The photos I’m currently showing in an exhibition in Redfern are meant to express that even though I have a disability, I can still live a full and normal life. The exhibition will consist of two photos side by side: an original unedited photo, and an edited version that will only show a portion of the image through a pinhole, with the rest of the image black. Hopefully this will help people understand what my vision is like. When I was shooting some photos at Circular Quay recently, I was verbally abused by someone because I had my white cane and I was taking pictures. He couldn’t understand how a person who needed a cane could also take photographs, rather than being completely helpless. I think he thought

Anthony Fowler, 2012 Taken from a recent exhibition of Anthony’s work, two versions of the same scene are displayed side by side. The second image depicts Anthony’s field of vision and unique perspective. different people. It’s hard to explain how my photos are different, but I suppose they are unique in the way that I take them. I don’t hold the camera up at my eyes; I hold it in front of my chest, which I think gives a whole different view. I know it sounds cliché, but if I could Say Something to the world, it would be something about simple peace and happiness – no more conflict. No more borders. Just people.

,, I,d like to see a lot more young people with a disability, and a lot more young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people get out,, there and use their voices through art. Whether it’s photography, or painting, or graffiti, or whatever – Reconciliation is a huge concept that people can find difficult to grasp, but if young people get involved, Reconciliation can become accessible and we can get the message across. TOOL KIT: CASE STUDY 3





Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people come from the world’s oldest surviving cultures, having lived in Australia for tens of thousands of years. Prior to 1788, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people spoke numerous languages across hundreds of different nations around the continent. The Dreaming, the land and sea, and community Elders are central to this rich history.



‘“,, Our culture is something that has sustained us for thousands and thousands of years and will continue to do so in generations to come.,,’

Aboriginal people first migrated to Australia from Southeast Asia at least 60,000 years ago.

Strait Islander people have inhabited their lands * Torres for at least 10,000 years. 1788, between 750,000 and 1 million Aboriginal and * InTorres Strait Islander people lived in Australia.

Hetti Perkins Former Art Gallery of NSW Curator

LANGUAGE, FAMILY, AND SPIRITUALITY colonisation, more than 400 Aboriginal and * Before Torres Strait Islander nations co-existed in Australia, each with their own unique cultures and traditions. In NSW alone, there were 50 different nations.

and Torres Strait Islander people spoke over * Aboriginal 250 distinct languages and 600 different dialects.

* complex family relations. Kinship systems of extended Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians have



Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are closely connected to the natural environment. They care for, and are sustained by, the land and sea.


To look after the limited resources of the environment, and according to changing seasons, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people moved often, leaving enough to regenerate for the next season. Waste was avoided by using all parts of plants and animals for a variety of tools, clothing, and forms of nourishment.


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people lived as hunter-gatherers. Men and women had different jobs. Men used clubs, boomerangs, and spears to hunt large animals such as kangaroos and emus, while women and children collected fruits, berries, and other plants, and hunted smaller animals.


Some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people used fire to increase available food and care for their country for thousands of years. Low-level fires are used to remove undergrowth, encourage the regrowth of plants, and simplify the spearing of game animals.

family relationships define where a person fits in a community, and the mutual obligations between members.

have a central role in education and the preservation * Elders of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures. They guide other community members, teach traditions and skills, and share knowledge and personal experiences.

Spirituality draws upon stories of The * Aboriginal Dreaming, and consists of a sophisticated network

of knowledge, faith, and practices linked to stories of creation. The Dreaming is at the heart of Aboriginal society, laying out social structures, rules of behaviour, and important cultural ceremonies.

* stories of Tagai, or warrior, which focus on the stars, and Torres Strait Islander Spirituality largely comes from identify Torres Strait Islanders as sea-faring people.


Tool Kit: Fact Sheet 1…Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples: A long, rich, and diverse history

This fact sheet is a shortened version of an eight-part series. The full suite, including references and further resources can be found at




The colonisation of Australia was bloody and drawn-out. Introduced disease and violence decimated many nations throughout this land. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people did not submit to the European invasion, but resisted, with varying degrees of success. However, despite this resistance, the population was reduced from more than 750,000 in 1788 to under 100,000 in 1920.





In January 1788, the First Fleet landed in Botany Bay. It was led by Captain Arthur Philip and included 1,000 officials, marines, dependents and convicts. The British declared Australia terra nullius, which means land belonging to no-one, and claimed ownership over the eastern half of Australia. This notion, accepted for over 200 years in non-Indigenous society, has been exposed as a myth. The invaders had an immediate impact on the Aboriginal people of the Sydney region, including the Eora, KuringGai, Dharug, and Tharawal peoples. Settling in the midst of important Aboriginal hunting grounds, the Europeans polluted the water, cleared the land, and put enormous pressure on local food supplies. Within three years of settlement, smallpox, introduced by the British, had decimated 50-90% of the Aboriginal population of Sydney. Other diseases such as syphilis, influenza and measles also had devastating effects, as Aboriginal people had no resistance to these foreign diseases.


Between 1824 and 1831, the Aboriginal population in Tasmania dropped from 1,500 to 350. There is an historical debate over whether this was a case of genocide.



Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were not passive. They resisted the colonisers in defence of their land, and conflict intensified as it became clear the Europeans were here to stay. Other causes of resistance were the treatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women by the colonisers and the competition for increasingly scarce resources.


Initially, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander opposition occurred at a local level against individuals. It was not until the early 1810s in Tasmania, the 1830s in NSW, and the 1840s in Victoria, that resistance was organised across local groups.


Pemulway was one of the most renowned resistance fighters. He led counter-raids against invaders in the Sydney region from 1790 until he was shot and killed in 1802.


* *

A 150 year war with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people began from British arrival in 1788. Around 3,000 Europeans and 20,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians died in these violent conflicts. During this long war, the colonisers were guilty of a number of massacres. In 1804, 50 Aboriginal people were murdered at Risdon Cove in Tasmania in response to Aboriginal resistance. In January 1838, 60-70 Aboriginal people were killed at Vinegar Hill in north central NSW, and in July of the same year in Myall Creek NSW, 28 Aboriginal men, women, and children were murdered. While eventually seven stockmen were hanged for murder, the public outcry against this decision made later prosecutions unlikely. As late as 1928, between 31 and 110 Aboriginal men, women and children were killed near Coniston in the Northern Territory, in response to the killing of a white dingo hunter.

,,Aboriginaland’, yes, your birthright, No matter what some name it; So dig your fingers deep in the soil, And feel it, and hold it, and claim it. Your people fought and died for this, Tho’ history books distort it all, But in your veins runs that same Aboriginal blood, So walk tall, my child, walk tall‘“,, …”

Maureen Watson Aboriginal Activist and Poet

This fact sheet is a shortened version of an eight-part series. The full suite, including references and further resources can be found at




THREE ...PROTECTION AND THE STOLEN GENERATIONS European colonisers were aware that disease, violence, and dispossession had devastated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander societies. From the mid-19th century, governments developed policies to protect what remained of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population. Not only were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people forced off their lands, but the children of families were stolen and placed in government homes or with non-Indigenous families.





Colonial governments around Australia forced Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people onto particular areas of land, known as Reserves, Stations, or Missions. Reserves were managed by Europeans, Stations were run by government managers, and Missions were controlled by Christian missionaries. Every state developed protection acts for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, starting in Victoria in 1869, which gave government great control over the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. Members of the protection boards became the legal guardians of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and they dictated where they lived, whom they married, how their children were raised, their job prospects, the people they could visit, and the places they could travel. Certain exemptions and freedoms were granted, but only to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who had reached “acceptable” standards of “European civilisation”. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people called these exemptions “dog tags” or “dog licences”.



As many as 100,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians were stolen from their families between the 1880s and 1969; 5,000 in NSW alone.


Government authorities of the era justified this by citing abuse, neglect, and the child’s interest.


The deeper motivation for child removal was to “breed out the colour” and prevent the “corruption of white society”. Two of the main architects of large scale child removal were A.O. Neville and Dr Cecil Cook, Chief Protectors of


Tool Kit: Fact Sheet 3…Protection and the Stolen Generations

Aborigines in the early 20th century in Western Australia and the Northern Territory.


It was thought that “full-blooded” Aboriginal Australians would naturally become extinct, and Neville and Cook sought to prevent marriage between “half-caste” and “full-blooded” Aboriginal people. Their ultimate goal was the “absorption into our own race of the whole of the existing native race”.


In NSW, two notorious government homes were Cootamundra Girls Home and Kinchela Boys Home. Conditions at these institutions were harsh and education was limited. Boys and girls were instructed to “think, look, and act white” and were not allowed to communicate with their families.


The Bringing Them Home Report on the national inquiry into the Stolen Generations was published in 1997 by the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission. It detailed the devastating effects of child removal on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and their families and argued that the federal government and several states were guilty of genocide.

‘“,,The time has now come for the nation to turn a new page in Australia,s history by righting the wrongs of the past and so moving forward with confidence to the future. We apologise for the laws and policies of successive parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians.,,’

Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd ‘ The Apology Speech’, 13 February 2008 This fact sheet is a shortened version of an eight-part series. The full suite, including references and further resources can be found at



...ABORIGINAL & TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER ACTIVISM AND LEADERSHIP There is a strong history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

activism and leadership in Australia, in response to the inequalities bred by colonialism. Beginning in the 1920s, and growing in strength throughout the latter part of the century, the struggle foR Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights continues with vigour today.

Strait Islander activists demanding land rights and compensation. The embassy remains today and is a powerful symbol of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander protest.

1920s - 1940s

* * *

Fred Maynard founded the first Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander political organisation, The Australian Aborigines Progressive Association (AAPA), in 1924. AAPA campaigned for an end to child removal, rights to land, and a distinct Aboriginal cultural identity. William Cooper helped establish The Australian Aborigines League (AAL) in 1935, and petitioned for direct representation in parliament, the vote, and land rights. He was also a key player in the abolition of the NSW Aboriginal Protection Board in 1940, and the establishment of the first “Day of Mourning” on 26 January 1938, to protest dispossession and injustice.


The successful 1967 Referendum saw 90% of Australians approve Constitutional changes to include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in the census and enable the Commonwealth to make laws concerning them.


In February 1965, Charles Perkins and Jim Spigelman led the Freedom Ride. Thirty Sydney University students embarked on a 3,000km bus tour of northern NSW to expose discrimination against Aboriginal people, who were refused service in shops, banned from hotels and clubs, and excluded from public swimming pools.


In 1966, Vincent Lingiari led the Gurindji people in a walk off from Wave Hill station to protest against poor pay and working conditions. The Gurindji people set up camp at Watti Creek and demanded the return of their traditional lands, beginning an eight-year fight, which was ultimately successful. The Gurindji people were granted freehold title over 3,250 square km of land, paving the way for the Northern Territory Aboriginal Land Rights Act of 1976.



the 1980s and early 1990s, the National Aboriginal * InConference, the Aboriginal Treaty Committee and the

Aboriginal Provisional Government all strongly advocated land rights, compensation, and a treaty between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

* Islander people died in prison, youth detention centres or

Between 1980 and 1989, at least 99 Aboriginal and Torres Strait police cells. In response to a campaign for a national inquiry into these deaths by relatives, amongst others, the government commissioned the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody in August 1987.

In 1946 around 600 Aboriginal pastoral workers in the Pilbara, WA went on strike over conditions, pay, and poor treatment. After a year-long strike, their demands were finally met.

1950s - 1960s


1980s - 1990s

The Aboriginal Legal Service (ALS) was established in Redfern in 1970, with the aim of reducing imprisonment and police harassment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The ALS provided an important model for other Aboriginal community-run organisations in health, housing, childcare, and legal fields around Australia. On Australia Day 1972, the Aboriginal Tent Embassy was pitched outside Old Parliament House by Aboriginal and Torres

* to the High Court to claim ownership of land on Mer (Murray

In 1982 Eddie Mabo and four other Torres Strait Islanders went Island). The High Court ruled in favour of Mabo and the other plaintiffs in June 1992. This decision legally recognised Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ownership of land, called Native Title, rejecting the myth of terra nullius. The Wik people of Cape York and the Thayorre people of

* Queensland further tested Native Title. The Wik decision of

1996 ruled that native title rights could co-exist alongside rights of pastoralists on sheep and cattle stations. However, the Government responded to this by creating the Native Title Amendment Act 1998, which placed heavy restrictions on Native Title claims.

Beyond 2000


Over the last decade, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander activism and leadership is evident in diverse spheres of Australian public life; from academics and artists, to the media, to reports and social justice campaigns.


There is a wealth of highly respected Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders, including Marcia Langton and Larissa Behrendt, two of Australia’s leading Aboriginal academics; brothers Patrick and Mick Dodson, both active in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights and public education; Noel Pearson, an academic, lawyer and land rights activist; and Mick Gooda, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner for the Australian Human Rights Commission.


Two core issues, currently at the centre of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander activism, are the movement to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Constitution and the Close the Gap Campaign for Indigenous Health Equality.

This fact sheet is a shortened version of an eight-part series. The full suite, including references and further resources can be found at






Since the 1960s, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices are being increasingly heard and represented in film, television, radio, theatre, music, poetry, and literature.


* *

Since 1970, over 250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians have featured in key creative roles in more than 670 film and TV productions. In the 2000s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander filmmakers have had important creative roles in feature films and television dramas. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander filmmakers have had commercial and critical success with such feature films as The Sapphires, Bran Nue Dae, and Samson and Delilah; the ABC and SBS established Indigenous units in 1987, producing numerous Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander documentaries, news and current affairs programs, and dramas, such as Blackout, Living Black, Message Stick, Redfern Now, The Circuit and the First Australians series.


Sydney has a full-time Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community radio station, 93.7FM Koori Radio 2LND.


In 2012, NITV became the first free-to-air Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander television station, screening on channel 34.




Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander literature has become a major platform for political and cultural expression, with unique and varying styles.


David Unaipon became the first published Aboriginal author in Australia with his work Native Legends, 1929.


Oodgeroo Noonuccal was a prominent Aboriginal poet and rights activist. She was the first Aboriginal woman to be published, with her book of verse We Are Going, 1964.


Prominent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australian writers working today include poets Lionel Fogarty, Herb Wharton and Samuel Watson; fiction writers Alexis Wright, Anita Heiss, Kim Scott, and Tara June Winch, and non-fiction writers Roberta Sykes, Sally Morgan, and Kate Howarth.

‘“,, The artist educates the public, the public votes the way they have been educated to, and the politicians take notice.“,,’


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander playwrights have built a canon of significant work since the late 1960s, including Kevin Gilbert’s The Cherry Pickers, Uncle Jack Davis’s No Sugar, and Wesley Enoch’s Black Medea.


Ilbijerri is Australia’s longest running Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander theatre company, formed in Melbourne in 1990. They tour remote and regional Australia and have performed for more than 150,000 people.


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander music is commonly associated with the didjeridu, clap sticks, and traditional singing. However, in recent decades, it has broadened and fused with contemporary genres, including country, rock, pop, world music and hip hop.


Prominent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander musicians past and present include Troy Casser-Daley (country), Yothu Yindi (rock), Jimmy Little, Christine Anu and Jessica Mauboy (pop), the Warumpi Band (world music) and Brothablack (hip hop).


The Indigenous Hip Hop Projects (IHHP) is a team of hip hop artists, beat-boxers and dancers who tour Aboriginal communities with positive messages about mental health and youth leadership.


The Deadly Awards were first held in 1995 and focussed on music. They have now expanded to encompass Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander contributions more generally. The Deadlys explicitly aim to provide role models to inspire all Australians.


Fact Sheet 5…Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Australians and the Creative Arts

Oodgeroo Noonuccal (Kath Walker), Aboriginal Poet

This fact sheet is a shortened version of an eight-part series. The full suite, including references and further resources can be found at




Self-determination is the right of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to participate meaningfully in social structures, contribute to policy formulation, and ultimately control their own social, economic, and political destinies. It has been a consistent demand of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander activists and leaders for many decades, and has been affirmed by the 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).



After a long chain of unsuccessful government policies (Protection, Assimilation, and Integration), Selfdetermination became state and federal policy for Indigenous affairs in the early 1970s.


However, a subsequent federal government rejected the policy of Self-determination, abolishing the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) in 2004 and initiating the Northern Territory Emergency Response in 2007. The Australian Government of the time also refused to sign the UNDRIP. While the current Federal Government does support the UNDRIP, they have not returned to Self-determination as a governing principle of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs.


Many people argue that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians have never had true Selfdetermination, particularly in contrast to the relative autonomy of the indigenous peoples of NZ, Canada, and the USA.




In June 2007, The Northern Territory (NT) Board of Inquiry released the Little Children are Sacred Report, exposing widespread violence and sexual abuse experienced by Aboriginal women and children in the NT.


On 21 June 2007, the Federal Government introduced the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER) 2007, known as the NT Intervention. The legislation initially applied to 73 “prescribed� communities in the NT, granting the government control of communities for a five-year period through police and government managers. In order to enact this legislation, the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 was suspended. On top of this, 50% of all welfare payments were quarantined by Centrelink, and alcohol and pornography was banned. This response adopted only 3 of the 93 recommendations of the Little Children are Sacred Report.


The NTER was heavily criticised by diverse community voices, including many Aboriginal and community organisations, and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner. It was condemned as racially discriminatory and for infringing human rights.


Activist groups opposed to the NTER point to the increased rates of self-harm, suicide, incarceration and growing reports of violence and assault since 2007.


Though it was initially a five-year program, in July 2012 the Federal Government passed the Stronger Futures legislation, extending key measures of the Intervention, such as welfare quarantining and alcohol management, for 10 years.





ATSIC was established in March 1990 as a Commonwealth body through which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians were formally involved in government processes. It gave policy advice and administered programs. Its original structure comprised 60 regional councils, elected by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. ATSIC was praised for providing political participation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, offering a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voice increasingly independent of government, running wideranging beneficial programs, and working cooperatively with States and Territories. ATSIC was criticised for encouraging welfare dependency, for alleged corruption, and for being too bureaucratic. It was criticised by some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people for inadequately enacting the principle of Self-determination.

In 2003 the government-appointed ATSIC review panel released a report calling for institutional reform, but making it clear that ATSIC should remain the main representative body of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The Federal Government ignored its own review panel, and abolished ATSIC in November 2004.

This fact sheet is a shortened version of an eight-part series. The full suite, including references and further resources can be found at






Significant social, economic, legal, and political inequality exists between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people die younger, are less educated, and are poorer than other Australians. They are overrepresented in prisons, have suffered high rates of deaths in custody, and are not recognised in the Australian Constitution.



* *

In 2011, 2.5% of the Australian population identified as being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin. 31% of those live in NSW. Indigenous Australians have significantly poorer outcomes than non-Indigenous Australians across all key social indicators, including health, education, and housing.


Life expectancy is 10-17 years lower, infant mortality rates are up to three times higher, death from preventable causes is four times higher, rates of physical disability are 50% higher, and rates of psychological distress are 50-60% higher than for non-Indigenous Australians.


Rates of high school retention, year 12 completion, postsecondary education, and employment are significantly lower.


Home ownership is less likely, and homelessness and overcrowding are much more common in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.


Causes of this social inequality are complex. They are directly related to the history of invasion, dispossession, colonisation, violence, child removal, and racism; and ongoing legal, economic, and political inequality.

‘“,, My view is that the Australian Constitution has served 97 per cent of the nation well. It has not worked, and does not work, for 3 per cent: my people, Indigenous Australians.“,,’


The national imprisonment rate is 14 times higher for Indigenous adults than non-Indigenous adults.


Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander juveniles are 23 times more likely to enter detention than their nonIndigenous peers.


In 1991, the final report of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody listed racism, inadequate education and housing, entrenched poverty, alcohol and substance abuse, unemployment, and poor relations with police, as causes of high imprisonment rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. Twenty years later these causes have not been addressed and imprisonment rates remain high.



The Australian Constitution fails to specifically recognise or mention Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.


The Australian Constitution is the only such document in the world that still permits racial discrimination against “a race” of people. This enabled the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 to be suspended during the NT Intervention.


Indigenous and non-Indigenous people around Australia are now campaigning for Constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. The Australian Constitution is the foundation of our political and legal systems; it can only be altered by the Australian people in a national referendum.

Noel Pearson Aboriginal Leader 24

Tool Kit: Fact Sheet 7…Inequality

This fact sheet is a shortened version of an eight-part series. The full suite, including references and further resources can be found at



Supporting Reconciliation is a commitment to improving relationships and understanding between Indigenous and





Australians. including






such as The Apology, support for the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), and


Constitutional recognition. It also includes addressing social, economic, legal and political disadvantages faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.



Reconciliation was first discussed in public political life in 1983 by Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Clyde Holding, who advocated Reconciliation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people by 1988.


In 1988 the Northern and Central Land Councils presented the Barunga Statement to the Government, calling on the Federal Government to grant Self-determination, land rights, a treaty, and compensation for stolen land. The Government responded with a promise of a treaty for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians by 1990, but did not fulfil this promise.

* * *

In 1991, the final recommendation of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody called for political leaders to “ensure bipartisan public support for the process of reconciliation” and suggested “that the urgency and necessity of the process be acknowledged.” The Federal Government responded by introducing legislation to form the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation in 1991. In 1992, Prime Minister Paul Keating took a significant step towards Reconciliation in his Redfern Speech. Keating recognised the responsibility of European settlers in the plight of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. He said...

“,, We took the traditional lands and smashed the traditional way of life. We brought the disasters. The alcohol. We committed the murders. We took the children from their mothers. We practised discrimination and exclusion. It was our ignorance and our prejudice.,, ”

‘“,, Reconciliation requires changes of heart and spirit, as well as social and economic change. It requires symbolic as well as practical action.“,,’

Malcolm Fraser Former Prime Minister of Australia RECONCILIATION BODIES


The Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation (CAR) was created by Federal Parliament in 1991, and was responsible for the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge Walk, where 250,000 Australians crossed the bridge in support of Reconciliation.


In 2001 Reconciliation Australia and State Reconciliation Councils including the NSW Reconciliation Council, replaced CAR. They were formed as independent, not-forprofit organisations.


The Apology, support for the UNDRIP, and a growing campaign for Constitutional Recognition continue the campaign for Reconciliation today.



The 1997 Bringing Them Home Report triggered a national campaign for a Federal Government apology to the Stolen Generations.


Speaking to the 42nd Parliament of Australia, on the 13th February, 2008, Prime Minister Rudd offered this apology: “To the Stolen Generations, I say the following: as Prime Minister of Australia, I am sorry. On behalf of the government of Australia, I am sorry. On behalf of the Parliament of Australia, I am sorry.” Rudd apologised to the “mothers, fathers, brothers, the sisters, the families and the communities” for the suffering, indignity and humiliation the Stolen Generations were subjected to by policies of past governments.


The Apology was a very significant moment in recent Australian history, and was particularly meaningful for Stolen Children and their families who waited many years for recognition of this great injustice.


* *

Reconciliation means many different things to different groups. Its Latin root is conciliare, meaning ‘bringing together’. Reconciliation is a people’s movement: Indigenous and non-Indigenous individuals at the grassroots working towards change.

This fact sheet is a shortened version of an eight-part series. The full suite, including references and further resources can be found at



RECONCILIATION IN YOUR SCHOOL Building reconciliation in your school shows respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

You can take the Schools Reconciliation Challenge further by evaluating

Reconciliation in your school and developing your own Road Map to Reconciliation.

RESPECT AND RECOGNITION Many schools already do a lot to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in their school, often led by passionate students and teachers. The following are some small steps that your school could take, if not already doing so.

Welcome to Country A Welcome to Country is a ceremony performed by Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people in order to welcome visitors to their traditional land. The person must be a Traditional Owner or Custodian with specific linkages to that location. Protocols for welcoming visitors to country have been a part of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures for thousands of years. They can be done in a variety of ways, including speeches in English or traditional language, singing, dancing or smoking ceremonies. A Welcome to Country should be included at special occasions and must be performed as the first order of official proceedings. Does your school display a Reconciliation Statement? If not, you could model one on this template:

RECONCILIATION STATEMENT [insert school name] acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, their unique status as the first Australians and Traditional Custodians of the land and recognises the impact of past history relating to land, cultures, languages and families.

We acknowledge that we are on land traditionally owned by the local

[insert Language group name] PEOPLE. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.


NEXT STEPS: Reconciliation in Your School

Acknowledging Country An Acknowledgement of Country can be performed by any individual, Indigenous or non-Indigenous. It is a way of paying respect and actively supporting Reconciliation. It can be given at the commencement of official proceedings, as well as when you first address an audience if you are following other speakers. This includes following a formal Welcome to Country conducted by a Traditional Custodian.

,, I would like to acknowledge the Traditional Owners on whose land we meet today. I would like to pay my respects to their Elders past and present.,,

An Acknowledgement is a way of showing respect to the Traditional Custodians of land where a meeting, assembly or event is taking place. It recognises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as First Peoples who have ongoing connections to this land.

Flying the Flags Lots of schools across Australia already fly the Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander flags alongside the Australian flag. Flying the Aboriginal and the Torres Strait Islander flags in your school demonstrates recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and encourages a sense of community. If your school doesn’t have a second flag pole, how about painting a mural of the flags somewhere prominent at the school, or hanging the flags in the school hall instead?

Connecting with Community Building relationships with your local Aboriginal community can enrich school environments. Many schools invite community members to attend events and connect with students throughout the school year.

CONSTITUTIONAL RECOGNITION OF ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER AUSTRALIANS A significant next step for Reconciliation will be changing the Australian Constitution to recognise and respect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander PEOPLE.

The success of the 1967 referendum showed that Australians were ready to embrace social and political reform and support the aspirations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

As Australians, we all want to be recognised and treated as equals. The Constitution, the highest legal document in Australia, does not recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as Australia’s First People and continues to have sections that permit discrimination on the basis of race.

Now, in 2013, another campaign for Constitutional change is gaining momentum. The Federal Government has committed to holding a referendum to formally recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Constitution. Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, together with all major political parties, are currently working to raise awareness and get the Australian community involved.

The Constitution was established at the time of Federation in 1901. It sets out the rules of Parliament, providing authority for the powers by which our legislators make laws, our executive government implements them, and our courts operate. Changing our Constitution is difficult. But the power to amend it lies with the Australian people, through a referendum. To be successful a referendum must be approved by a double majority: A majority of voters nationwide; and A majority of voters in a majority of states (four out of six Australian states)

Constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people concerns all Australians of all ages and backgrounds. In recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, we are building an authentic and diverse national identity which encompasses a shared past and creates a united future.

* *

Historically, Constitutional change has had a significant impact on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. At the 1967 Referendum, the Australian people voted overwhelmingly to change the Constitution. Provisions which prevented the Federal Government from making laws for Aboriginal people, and excluded Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from being counted in the population census, were removed from the Constitution.

Want to get involved? 1

Talk about it – all Australians, old and young, can discuss Constitutional Recognition and what it would mean for them.


Get involved on Facebook and Twitter – you can read posts by Recognise*, comment on online debates, and share info with your friends.


Chat about it at school – download the school learning guide at Whether you are a teacher or a student, this is a great way to participate in shaping Australia’s future.

Getting active in the classroom: 1

Take a look at Australia’s Constitution, and find any section that mentions Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people or ‘race’. Discuss the significance of what you find (or don’t find).


What happened in the 1967 referendum? Why was it so successful?


Find out what Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people think – connect with your local community and discuss the issues.

*Recognise is the people’s movement for the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian Constitution. For more information visit: Image courtesy of ANTaR. Limited copies of this free postcard are available to schools by emailing NEXT STEPS: Constitutional Recognition




To Do




[insert school name]

We will develop and implement a Reconciliation Statement We WILL fly the Aboriginal Flag We WILL fly the Torres Strait Islander Flag We will celebrate Reconciliation Week: 27 May – 3 June 2013 We will celebrate NAIDOC Week: 7- 14 July 2013 We will participate in the Schools Reconciliation Challenge We will invite Aboriginal Artists, story tellers and cultural practitioners to visit our school We will develop and display a plaque to recognise the Traditional Custodians at the entrance of our school We will connect with Elders in our local community and invite them to talk at our school We will organise school excursions to local Aboriginal sites of significance We will develop opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and staff to feel connected to our school We will invite a Traditional Owner to perform a Welcome to Country in our School for significant assemblies and events We will conduct an acknowledgement to Country at the commencement of our significant school events and assemblies We will investigate and learn about our local Aboriginal language/s with the assistance of our Aboriginal community, and consider re-naming parts of our school environment We will encourage students to develop and lead Reconciliation projects in our school, including developing Reconciliation groups

Other Things To Do



Entry Form For teacher to complete and attach to artwork

School Details School Name: Town/Suburb:


Contact Teacher:

Direct Email*:

School Phone Number:

Teacher Mobile Number*:

* Please provide direct contact details, not the generic school details. Information will only be used to contact you in relation to the Schools Reconciliation Challenge.

I declare the submitted artwork is original and I have read and agree to the competition conditions of entry available at or on page 31 of the Teaching Kit. These answers will not affect the result of the competition How did you hear about the competition? Email

Received kit in the mail

Social Media

NSW Reconciliation Council website

Other How many lessons were spent on this unit?




What was the most useful part of this kit?


Fact Sheets

Case Studies

Next Steps

A General Class


Other Your class is:

An Accelerated Class

For Students with Disabilities

What else would you like to see included?

Artwork Details Single Entry: please complete this section if you are submitting one artwork only; including if it is a collaborative/group/class artwork. Please also complete the artists’ statement on the reverse of this page. Attach to the artwork using a staple or paper clip. Ensure the name of your school and artwork title is clearly marked on the back of the artwork. Artwork Title: Artist Name/s: Year:




Non-Indigenous* *this information is optional

Multiple Entries: Please complete this section if you are submitting multiple artworks. Photocopy the reverse of this page for each student to complete and attach their artwork with a staple or paper clip. Total number of artworks submitted: Number of participants:




*this information is optional


Send to: Schools Reconciliation Challenge NSW Reconciliation Council 11-13 Mansfield Street Glebe NSW 2037 Or by email with digital artwork:




Artist Statement For student to complete and attach to artwork Artist Name/s:



Teacher Name:

Artwork Title: This artwork is about:

It relates to Reconciliation because:

It relates to

Say Something! because:

s. .

Reconciliat ion m ean



Terms and Conditions

Size + Material of works

By completing and submitting the 2013 Schools Reconciliation Challenge entry form, each participant agrees to be bound by the following terms and conditions:

Eligibility 1 2 3 4

5 6 7 8 9 10 11

To participate in the Schools Reconciliation Challenge, students must currently be enrolled in grades 5–10 at a primary or secondary school in NSW, or be the equivalent age of a grade 5–10 student. Entries must be entirely the work of the entrant and must never have been published, self-published, published on any website or public online forum, broadcast, nor have been entered or won a prize in any other competition. A completed entry form must accompany the document or artwork to indicate agreement to these terms and conditions. Artists who are placed First, Second or Third will receive sponsored travel to attend the Sydney awards ceremony and exhibition launch at the Australian Museum with a guardian. Collaborative entries must delegate one representative and their guardian to attend the ceremony.

* * *

Artworks must be a maximum of A1 size – 60 x 84cm.

* *

Artworks must be submitted on a flat surface such as paper or board; but not canvas.


Artwork is not to be framed or mounted behind glass.

* * *

The filename of digital entries must be the title of the artwork.

Artists who are placed Highly Commended may have their work exhibited at the Australian Museum but will not receive sponsored travel. Entries must meet the competition requirements and formats.


Entries which do not win a prize may be returned at the expense of the artist or school within six months of competition close. Prize winning entries may be held for up to 12 months before being returned to the artist. Closing date for entries is 12 April 2013. Entries which are postmarked by the 12th of April will be accepted. Whilst all care will be taken to protect originals, no responsibility is taken for loss or damage.

Students may use any type of flat material for their work, including collage, paint, pencil or still digital media such as photography or Photoshop.

Clearly write, name, class, school and title of work on the reverse. Paper clip or blue tac entry form and artist statement to artwork. Do not glue entry form to the artwork.


Email either a digital photograph or scanned version of the artwork. Preferred file types are: .jpg, .gif, .bmp. The original artwork of entries must be available and submitted to the NSWRC office within seven days of notice (the NSWRC will provide assistance with these arrangements).


The artwork must reflect the 2013 theme No corrections can be made after the entry is received by the NSWRC.

Students can participate in the competition either as a class activity or a take home project.


By signing a completed entry form, and accepting the award offer, the authors/artists: Agree to grant royalty-free, worldwide, non-exclusive, licence to reproduce and publish work in all media of expression now known or later developed and in all languages in the winning artwork to the NSWRC without reservation including, but not limited to, all intellectual property rights to reproduce and publish the entry on the NSWRC website and to change and/or reproduce any part of the artwork in relation to other promotional activities. Agree that the NSWRC may publish, on the NSWRC website and in relation to other promotional activities, any personal information provided by the artist in connection with their entry including, but not limited to, the artist’s name, age, community and state/territory of residence; and warrants that there is no cultural or religious reason or any other impediment that prevents the artwork from being exhibited, published or reproduced.

Judging All entries will be viewed and judged by a subcommittee of the NSWRC. The decision of the judges will be final and absolute. No correspondence concerning decisions will be entered into.



Further resources Websites The Art Gallery of NSW The Art Gallery of NSW has developed lots of slides, essays and teaching resources about current collections and exhibitions, including the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander collection.

The Australian Human Rights Commission The Australian Human Rights Commission has a vast collection of resources. This link takes you to lesson plans and classroom activities about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues.

The Australian Museum This site gives a comprehensive introduction to the diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australia.

The First Australians Series (SBS TV) This series, accessible online, chronicles the birth of contemporary Australia from an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspective.

The Little Red Yellow Black Book This site provides an entry-point to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and history. The website contains short essays, teaching notes and other resources.

The Macquarie Pen Anthology of Aboriginal Literature This is both a book and an online database of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural websites.

NSW Reconciliation Council NSWRC is the peak body for Reconciliation in NSW. Visit this site to stay up to date with events, projects and campaigns across the state, as well as Schools Reconciliation Challenge information.

Recognise Recognise is the national campaign to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia’s Constitution. The site contains fact sheets, background information and education kits for school.

ReconciliACTION ReconciliACTION is a network of young people who promote Reconciliation. This link takes you to a Reconciliation education kit.

Reconciliation Australia This section of Reconciliation Australia’s website includes resources for schools.

Books Arthur, W. and Morphy, F. (eds) 2005. Macquarie Atlas of Indigenous Australia. Sydney: Pan Macmillan Australia. Parbury, N. 2005. Survival: A History of Aboriginal Life in NSW. Sydney: NSW Department of Aboriginal Affairs.



Download a copy of this teaching kit at: schools-reconciliation-challenge

NSW Reconciliation Council 11-13 Mansfield Street Glebe NSW 2037 Phone: (02) 9562 6355 Fax: (02) 8456 5906 Email: Website: Facebook:

Join us on Facebook: schoolsreconciliationchallenge ABN:

583 759 527 94



Kit design and concept by Matt Roden

NSW Reconciliation Council grants permission for this resource to be copied for educational purposes only. The NSW Reconciliation Council acknowledges and pays respect to the Traditional Owners and custodians of Country throughout NSW and Australia.

Schools Reconciliation Challenge 2013  
Schools Reconciliation Challenge 2013  

Schools Reconciliation Challenge Teaching Kit 2013