Acts of De-tangling: The Politics of Indigenous Education

The title of the symposium borrows from the public lecture Tangled Up in Black: A Journey Through Education and History delivered in 2014 by the warrior activist and scholar Gary Foley for the Research Unit in Public Cultures, University of Melbourne. Additionally this symposium aligns with the conference theme to consider the ways in which acts of (de-) tangling have shaped agentic responses by Indigenous peoples to live with and in, combat and transform the political swirl that informs Indigenous education, whether at school or higher levels of learning. We acknowledge that there are complexities and tensions in both the public and private (Indigenous only) domains in constructing and making anew this space. That which makes the swirl is inclusive of policy and it's impacts; the competing realities of Indigenous communities needs and institutional practices; colonial legacies and the long hard road to de-colonising objective; resource limitations and the angsts of prioritisation; and the appropriateness and relevancy of research being conducted. Each of the presenters, as Indigenous research academics, speak into this space, making known the tangled up politics of Indigenous education through their own research and professional engagements and detail the efforts taken to de-tangle. The presentations draw on the experiences of Indigenous academics using innovative methodologies as a means to de-tangle contested spaces in Indigenous research. The dialogue in this symposium builds a deeper understanding of the forever presence of politics within Indigenous education for conference participants who are interested in and seek to strengthen the development of this field.