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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.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander resources in your reading lists


Brisbane River pattern from A Guidance Through Time by Quandamooka artists Casey Coolwell and Kyra Mancktelow

This section outlines techniques for checking and organising your reading lists to ensure they represent the diverse voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

 Contact the Librarian team for guidance or assistance to help you introduce more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander resources into your reading lists.

Check the ethnicity of authors

Check the ethnicity of the authors when you are searching for relevant resources to add your reading lists. You can find this information by checking the authors':

  • social media
  • profiles on institutions' web pages
  • personal web pages.

Diversity and complexity vs stereotypes and generalisation

Before the 1980s, most material contained stereotyped and generalised information. There are now many resources which have been written by, or in consultation with, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people/s. These resources often contain information about specific Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups, as a result illustrating the diversity and complexity of both cultural groups. Perhaps check characteristics (outlined below) of the resource and decide whether it is suitable to represent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives.

  Resources that do NOT represent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives

Characteristics

  • Perpetuates the concept of terra nullius
  • Ignores or misrepresents Aboriginal resistance to European occupation of the land
  • Overgeneralises
  • Ignores the number and diversity of both Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal knowledges, languages, cultures and customs
  • Overrepresents men
  • Trivialises women’s roles in Aboriginal societies
  • Presents stereotyping and racist connotations
  • Assumes that all Torres Strait Islander people and Aboriginal people live in the past
  • Emphasises the “exotic” to the exclusion of other cultural aspects
  • Excludes Torres Strait Islander people
  • Creates a "them" and "us separation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous peoples
  • Excludes some readers by assuming a European background

  Resources that DO represent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives

Characteristics

  • Up to date
  • Accurate
  • Illustrations and photographs are positive and accurate portrayals of Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islander people, that are relevant to the text
  • Photographs are accompanied by captions which name the Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person, or group, and indicate where they come from
  • Acknowledges Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander participation in the research, writing and presentation processes
  • Are about the local area or state
  • Endorsed by local, regional, state or territory Aboriginal education consultative groups 
  • Endorsed by other Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander groups
  • Acceptable to the local Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander community
  • Authored and or led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander scholars

Organise your reading lists

Organise your reading lists into headed sections to make them easier to navigate and include links to book chapters and web pages.

The Library can help you. Get information about submitting your course reading lists.

Keep up to date

Keep up to date with RSS feeds, saved searches and current awareness in your discipline.

  1. Use RSS feeds; it will save you time and ensure you do not miss any important updates to key resources or networks. There are many RSS feed readers you could use for this. Set up research alerts provides some examples of different types of alerts.
  2. You can save searches you have carried out in most online resources to alert you when new content is available (e.g. YouTube, UQ Library search and databases)
  3. Follow blogs and use tools such as ResearchGate to find researchers from across the globe.