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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives

Ensure your teaching curriculum and reading lists represent the diverse student voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Welcome

The University of Queensland (UQ) acknowledges the Traditional Owners and their custodianship of the lands on which UQ operates. We pay our respects to their Ancestors and their descendants, who continue cultural and spiritual connections to Country. We recognise their valuable contributions to Australian and global society.

A Guidance Through Time by Casey Coolwell and Kyra Mancktelow.

Guidance Through Time by Casey Coolwell and Kyra Mancktelow.

Quandamooka artists Casey Coolwell and Kyra Mancktelow have produced an artwork that recognises the three major campuses, while also championing the creation of a strong sense of belonging and truth-telling about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, and ongoing connections with Country, knowledges, culture and kin. Although created as a single artwork, the piece can be read in three sections, starting with the blue/greys of the Herston campus, the purple of St Lucia and the orange/golds of Gatton.  

The graphic elements overlaying the coloured background symbolise the five UQ values:

-The Brisbane River and its patterns represent our Pursuit of excellence. Within the River are tools used by Aboriginal people to teach, gather, hunt, and protect.

- Creativity and independent thinking is depicted through the spirit guardian, Jarjum (Child in Yugambeh language), and the kangaroo

-The jacaranda tree, bora ring, animal prints, footprints and stars collectively represent Honesty and accountability, Mutual respect and diversity and Supporting our people. 

Using this guide

 Use this guide as a tool to enrich UQ's teaching curriculum and showcase the diverse voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples allowing all UQ students to experience inclusive teaching practices.

In terms of a strategic imperative this resource is adding value as listed in UQ’s Reconciliation Action Plan 2019-2022 (PDF, 4.85MB, opens in a new window), Opportunities section, Action item 14:

  Review and facilitate UQ wide approach to embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander curriculum and inclusive teaching practices in programs.

Specifically towards Deliverable 14.1.2 :

  Identifying location and teaching resources of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledges, perspectives and pedagogies, as well as inclusive teaching and learning training and practice.

Reconciliation is no single issue or agenda. It encompasses several dimensions that must be woven together. By progressing and deepening understanding of UQ’s, and more broadly Australia’s, reconciliation journey between Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous peoples, we bring together many unique and distinct identities, knowledges and experiences that can connect and co-create to spread innovation across the globe. 

Introducing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives into the curriculum

UQ acknowledges and respects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Australians. We value and celebrate the uniqueness of knowledges, cultures, histories, and languages that have been created and shared for at least 65,000 years. Our vision is to build a strong sense of belonging in an inclusive UQ environment that works respectfully with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, staff and communities in teaching, learning, research and collaboration – embracing and enhancing the best of our nation’s and the world’s diversity. 

UQ aspires to acknowledge that the participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples – and inclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledges and perspectives – in higher education is meaningful and important for all members of the University community and their academic journey. UQ actively seeks to build respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, cultures, lands, waters, knowledges, histories, and rights through its core business of education and research. Weaving the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander story into the fabric of education through teaching Indigenous cultures and perspectives in education practices has been identified nationally as key to improving outcomes. 

Research shows that, as educators, we can meet the educational needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in very practical ways such as improving attendance, retention, and increased workplace participation when value is placed on Indigenous knowledge systems in curriculum content and teaching practices. Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives will enhance the educational experiences of all UQ students. It will help them have a more accurate and richer understanding of Australia’s history and culture, resulting in a more reconciled Australia. 

Consult these frameworks for guidance on including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander content in your curriculum. These links will open in a new window:

Cultural sensitivities

Important information  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, students and staff are advised that material (and external links) within this guide may contain names and images of deceased Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and culturally sensitive materials.

The Library takes cultural safety seriously.

Contact the Library (opens in a new window) to make an enquiry or inform us of your concern, if you identify material that is culturally sensitive and needs further consideration around restrictions or access conditions.