Learning through Indigenous Identity
Lawrence Joseph Perry.
The history of western education in Australia for Indigenous peoples has been destructive to Indigenous beliefs and culture. Throughout colonisation education evolved from apathy, denial and the ideology of Imperialism that ultimately lead to the process of Assimilation. This ethnocentric view has always been the motivation behind the western education systems as it reproduces the dominance over all nations within its respective domains. This educational practice does not accommodate or incorporate diverse cultural beliefs and practices. This is evident in most if not all curriculum within teaching institutions. For Indigenous people to embrace and harness this type of education and utlise the benefits that western learning has to offer, the curriculum must be constructed in such a way that integrates and recognizes cultural diversity and Indigenous identity. The School of Aboriginal Studies at The University of Newcastle has designed a Bachelor of Aboriginal Studies that has as its core an exploration into individual and community identity. This paper will explore whether addressing individual Indigenous identity in the Bachelor of Aboriginal Studies is beneficial to students’ overall learning and their ability to perform as Indigenous people in their chosen fields of employment.
Lawrence Joseph Perry (Australia)
Lecturer in Aboriginal Studies
Wollotuka School of Aboriginal Studies Faculty of Arts & Education
University of Newcastle
I am a Worimi Aboriginal man who grew up on a small Aboriginal reserve at Karuah and have lived in the Port Stephens and Hunter regions all my life. For 14 years I worked with the Hunter Aboriginal Childrens' Services fostering Aboriginal Children helping prevent more children becoming the stolen generations. There I gained a Diploma in Welfare, which gave me greater insight into the social, political and racial issues that have been apart of the history of this country. I furthered my education with a Bachelor of Education hoping to empower other Aboriginal people along the way through education. After attaining this qualification I found employment assisting in the writing of the Bachelor and Major of Aboriginal studies at the University of Newcastle. Upon completion of that I applied to teach in that area and have been employed here for the past five (5) years. Lecturing in the Aboriginal Studies has given me a direct link to help in the true process of reconciliation, which is about us living together in co-existence.
(30 min. Conference Paper, English)