Profiling indigenous Australian culture: events in inclusive education

Year: 2013

Author: Franklin, Corrinne, Corr, Amelia, Trudgett, Michelle, Chapman, Elaine, Flood, Kylie

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

 The sharing of Indigenous knowledge provides opportunities for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students; it allows Indigenous students to showcase their culture, knowledge and perspectives, simultaneously non-Indigenous students are exposed to Indigenous culture and perspectives that will may be of benefit to them socially, and professionally (Behrendt 2012).The primary aim of the Profiling Indigenous Australian Culture program is to promote and celebrate Indigenous culture, provide occasions for Indigenous students to showcase cultural pride, and to increase opportunities for inclusive collaboration between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students. A small number of inclusive events (a short film night, didgeridoo and basket weaving, and a flash mob dance), offer a sense of belonging and community engagement to Indigenous students and staff, the wider Indigenous community and the Macquarie University community.A sense of belonging is especially important for Indigenous students and staff, particularly for those who come from regional and rural areas or those who are the first in their families to study at a tertiary institution. Cultural engagement amongst Indigenous students promotes a strong sense of self-identity and improves resiliency, all of which positively contribute to student retention and completion rates (Trudgett & Franklin 2011). In addition, these events have an educative role. Providing instances for non-Indigenous students and staff to engage with and learn about Indigenous culture. The activities will help cultivate a sense of mutual respect, a greater understanding of cultural difference and a richer knowledge of Australia's history. This knowledge may contribute to instilling a sense of pride in our shared histories and promote continual processes of reconciliation in educative settings. This paper will report on the successful outcomes of such inclusive educational events in a tertiary setting presenting important contextual information and analysis of each event. It is offered as a means to share our experiences with other institutions so that they too can integrate Indigenous culture in their environment.