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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives

This guide provides information and resources for supporting Indigenous knowledge in teaching and research practices.

Key resources

Searching for Indigenous content with RMIT Library

Searching for Indigenous content (5:53 min) by RMIT University Library (YouTube)

Choosing and evaluating resources

Choosing resources

The Library collections include many resources about and by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, as well as other First Nations people. It's important to recognise that these reflect many perspectives and attitudes, some of which may be harmful. Nonetheless, they can be scrutinised and critically analysed for pedagogical and research purposes. Consider when you need to include a content warning.

However, when embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives in your curriculum, you will want to choose resources which respectfully represent contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge, understandings, and ways of knowing. 

Indigenising curriculum is the embedding of Indigenous histories, voices, experiences, knowledges and ways of learning into our teaching. These are ‘too often unknown, hidden and silenced’ (Page et al., as cited in Kamp, 2022, para. 4) due to ongoing settler colonialism.

Reference

Kamp, E. (2022, May 26).  Be brave: how to Indigenise the curriculum https://blog.aare.edu.au/be-brave-how-to-indigenise-the-curriculum/

Evaluating resources

Use these questions to guide resource selection. Some of the questions may not be relevant in your context, but it is good to consider all of them.

  1. Has the resource been developed, written or created by Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people?
  2. Did Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people contribute to the resource? Are their contributions acknowledged?
  3. Are the creators of the resource well known and well respected?
  4. Has the material been endorsed by local, regional, state or territory Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander consultative groups?
  5. Do the photographs and artworks used in the resource name the language group or designer?
  6. Were Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander peoples consulted regarding the use of imagery, artworks, or designs?
  7. Does the resource contain an adequate disclaimer should it contain images or voices of deceased people?
  8. Does the resource respect the differences between western knowledges and pedagogies and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledges and pedagogies?
  9. Has the resource been developed from a Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people perspective?
  10. Does the resource contextualise Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people's cultures as living, dynamic and changing?
  11. Is the language and terminology used in the resource appropriate?

Adapted from Australian Catholic University Library evaluation tool for Indigenous resources [Word short version], with permission.

Diversifying your Reading List

RMIT University strongly values diversity and inclusion and has created the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access (IDEA) Framework as a guiding blueprint by which it operates.

One of the priority action areas of this framework is "education and research that demonstrate best practice in inclusion, diversity, equity and access."

RMIT University Library encourages academic staff to embrace a similar sentiment by diversifying their Reading Lists where possible to include disability and LGBQTI+ voices, as well as a variety of cultural histories and narratives and not just Euro-centric or Western-centric views.