Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures cross-curriculum priority provides an opportunity for all young Australians to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures, knowledge traditions and holistic world views. This knowledge and understanding of, and connection with, the world’s oldest continuous living cultures will help learners to participate in the ongoing development of Australia as a nation.

In the development of this cross-curriculum priority, ACARA has consulted with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander educators, with representatives from the Indigenous education consultative bodies, and with community members through face-to-face meetings and national forums. ACARA has also received advice from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teachers with expertise in the learning areas about how the priority could be incorporated into the learning areas.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures priority was developed around the three key concepts of Country/Place, Peoples and Cultures. Each concept contains three organising ideas that provide a scaffold for developing related knowledge, understanding and skills. These are embedded in each learning area according to its relevance to the organising ideas. An organising idea may draw on content from more than one learning area. Taken as a set, the organising ideas provide a coherent framework for the priority.

The first key concept highlights the special connection to Country/Place by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and celebrates the unique belief systems that connect people physically, relationally and spiritually to Country/Place.

The second key concept examines the diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ cultures through language, ways of life and experiences as expressed through historical, social and political lenses. It provides opportunities for students to gain a deeper understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ ways of being, knowing, thinking and doing.

The third key concept addresses the diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander societies. It examines kinship structures and the significant contributions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people on a local, national and global scale.

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