Young students across Australia could soon learn more about our displaced Aboriginal history, under new curriculum changes being developed by the Federal Government.
Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion announced last week that he had commissioned the University of Melbourne to devise changes to the curriculum, working with renowned indigenous academic Marcia Langton.
Under the proposed changes, primary schoolchildren would learn about their local tribe, which would include a basic introduction to the native language.
The move has been welcomed by Shepparton indigenous elder Aunty Sharon Atkinson, who has been successfully campaigning for two decades to revive Aboriginal history and language through literature and a number of local schools.
‘‘This kind of stuff breaks the barriers in all facets of life and if you can do that within your community, then our whole system will benefit from that,’’ Aunty Sharon said.
‘‘Every time there is a comment about our history, people tend to be upset that they weren’t taught about it and feel quite distressed that they could’ve been doing things to support the community earlier, or even getting to know Aboriginal people. Even though our intention is not to stress people, but to let them know who we are.’’
Aunty Sharon said efforts at a local level had been well received by a number of primary schools, in regards to language and Dreamtime history.
But she believed students would benefit if schools delved deeper into pre-settlement history.
‘‘I think the language is definitely a priority, and then our history in the region, and also looking at our own role models, so people like Sir Douglas Nicholls,’’ she said.
‘‘Inclusiveness is important, whether it’s in study or whether it’s around our past history, but some kind of acknowledgment is really needed within this day and age.’’
Mr Scullion hopes to present a draft version of new teaching materials to the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority by March next year.