Complexities of the Contested Space: Privileging First Nations Cultural Identity in School Settings within Australia.

Year: 2019

Author: O'Brien, Grace

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

For many First Nations children in Australia, their journey of learning is located at the Cultural Interface as soon as they enter the school gate.As a minority group within the contested space of mainstream education, parents and carers of First Nations children may also struggle to affirm their children’s cultural identity within a school setting.While some parents encourage their children to adopt an Indigenous standpoint of being, knowing and doing, they also acknowledge that their children for the most part enter into a place of learning that privileges Western ontologies and epistemologies above all other knowledge systems.For some First Nations children the negotiation between the two is a part of their daily life experiences and practices, and they are constantly maneuvering the complexities of schooling on a day-to-day basis.Centered on a strengths based approach, this paper seeks to address the ways in which educators can promote and converge Indigenous knowledge/s within their curricula and in doing so give Indigenous and non-Indigenous children the opportunity to understand and respect the identities, values and contributions of First Nations Australians as an intrinsic and continual process in their educational journey.