Interesting comments this week in a speech by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's wife regarding Australians learning more about Aboriginal Art, history and way of life. It is amazing how little many Australians know about the indigenous people of Australia and I think her comments are extremely positive.
Obviously it starts in schools and there is no doubt a broader and more thorough teaching of Aboriginal Art and history would be of great benefit to everyone.
Have a read of the article.
Embrace our indigenous people: Rein
HEATH GILMORE HIGHER EDUCATION
October 30, 2009
THERESE REIN has called for all Australians to become literate in Aboriginal art, symbols, culture and history.
The wife of the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, said the nation needed to understand Australia's indigenous culture better, so it could fully embrace all its people.
Her call was made in a speech to launch the Centre for Youth and Child, Health and Wellbeing at the University of Technology in Sydney this week. The centre's director, Professor Rosemary Johnston, has been urging Australian education authorities to make regional Aboriginal languages, history and cosmology a mandatory feature of all primary and perhaps early secondary education.
Ms Rein, a patron of the Indigenous Literacy Project, is becoming a champion for indigenous issues. Last year she was reduced to tears when she stepped in at a Parliament House function to read the emotional poem of 14-year-old Aboriginal girl's grief over the death of her mother. ''I was speaking with an indigenous person and she told me that she didn't feel like an Australian,'' Ms Rein said in her speech. ''I was shocked because I felt it was such an honour to be an Australian alongside that person.
''We have to understand better our indigenous cultures.''
Her speech this week comes as the intensity over the national curriculum debate rises. A nationwide curriculum is being developed to span kindergarten to year 12, starting with English, mathematics, science and history, for implementation from 2011. A second phase will be developed in languages, geography and the arts.
The NSW director general of education, Michael Coutts-Trotter, said the national curriculum debate was ''red hot and live … This is a highly contested area at the moment with huge debates about how much weight you give the Aboriginal perspective [in the curriculum].
''This is a big opportunity following the apology last year … We want a curriculum that allows Australia to understand and embrace Aboriginal people.''
Professor Johnston said the introduction of a national curriculum gave the chance to equip all children for the challenges of the new millennium as well as enhance the national identity.
''If we are truly serious about writing 'nation' into curriculum, this doubly rich distinctive country needs to have similar discussions - talk-story and listen-story - with Aboriginal elders about Aboriginal modes of learning,'' she said.