CROSS-CURRICULAR PRIORITIES IN THE ACARA GEOGRAPHY CURRICULUM: ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIGHT ISLANDER HISTORIES AND CULTURES

The Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander identity and culture is valued as highly important due to its significance to the Australian culture, so much so that it has been declared as a part of the Cross-curricular priorities within the Australian curriculum. Within Geography, maps are utilised frequently for analysis and evaluation purposes. The map below is an example of how Indigenous people view and mark out Australia (Anchor 2015). This is substantially different to the standard Australian map which is has grouped parts of Australia into states rather than different tribes (Ezilon 2015). By incorporating the comparison of the different maps into a geography lesson, it would increase the students spacial and cultural knowledge.

Aboriginal Map (Anchor 2015)
Aboriginal Map
(Anchor 2015)
Standard Australian Map  (Ezilon 2015)
Standard Australian Map
(Ezilon 2015)

Aboriginals also express their mapping of Australia through their art. The purpose of Indigenous are was to, “teach, record events, tell stories about rituals and explain practices and beliefs” (Indigenous Instyle 2015). The image below is an example of a standard Indigenous map outlining tracks (dotted lines) and water holes (large circular symbols). These maps were drawn from the adventures they embarked on. The Indigenous people also marked out the surrounding tribes and food sources (Indigenous Instyle 2015).

Indigenous Art/Map (Indigenous Instyle 2015)
Indigenous Art/Map
(Indigenous Instyle 2015)

Indigenous people have a deep rooted connection with the land and treat it with a high level of respect. They only take from the land what they need, nothing more – something that is unheard of within the white Australian community. Indigenous people maintain the land due to their traditional knowledge and connection to sites of significance. Within the Indigenous culture, there are many sacred places which are treated respectfully and hold a lot of significance to their beliefs which prompt them to maintain these areas. Indigenous people also have a spiritual connection with the land which increase their desire to preserve and sustain its natural habitat/form (Splash ABC 2007).

The land is a crucial part to the Indigenous identity and the Indigenous people are a significant part of Australia’s culture as they are the core of Australia and contribute to Australia’s diverse range of cultures. Due to their contribution, it is obvious as to the importance of its presence within the Australian curriculum.

Reference List:

Anchor. 2015. “Statement of Respect.” Accessed May 28 2015. http://www.showmetheway.org.au/statement-of-respect.html.

Ezilon Maps. 2015. “Australia Map – Political Map of Australia.” Accessed May 28 2015. http://www.ezilon.com/maps/oceania/australia-maps.html.

Indigenous Instyle. 2015. “Australian Aboriginal Map.” Accessed May 28 2015. http://www.indigenousinstyle.com.au/australian-aboriginal-map/.

Splash ABC. 2007. “Indigenous Perspective on Sustainability.” Accessed May 38 2015. http://splash.abc.net.au/home#!/media/525907/indigenous-perspective-on-sustainability.

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CROSS-CURRICULAR PRIORITIES IN THE ACARA GEOGRAPHY CURRICULUM: ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIGHT ISLANDER HISTORIES AND CULTURES

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