Aboriginal Nation: A strong Kimberley tertiary education narrative

Wooltorton, Sandra, Guenther, John, Wilks, Judith and Dwyer, Anna (2022) Aboriginal Nation: A strong Kimberley tertiary education narrative. The Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, 51 (1).

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Our past shapes our present. However, do Australian universities understand the ways historical discourses continue to shape them? Provoked by the findings of our empirical study implemented in Western Australia’s Kimberley region in 2018-2019, we conducted a critical text analysis of recent and past policies to seek historical explanation. As a research team, we noted a demand on behalf of Aboriginal activists to shift from the discourse of ‘problem’ to ‘nationhood’, during the first launch of the Aboriginal flag at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in 1972. However, in our study we observed the ‘problem’ vocabulary lives on, impacting remote Aboriginal tertiary education through its deficit discourse and ‘gap language’. In this paper, we show how the future for remote Aboriginal tertiary education sits within our everyday narratives and explanations. It is to recognise Aboriginal knowledges, strengths, contribution and experience, or remain trapped by the deficit discourses of a colonial era. A strengths-based discourse acknowledges that Aboriginal people living in remote communities have the capacity, knowledge and ‘know-how’ to engage with tertiary education in culturally secure ways. Remote Aboriginal tertiary education could show the way to genuine socio-political transformation in Australia; and the Kimberley could lead this process.

Item Type: Article
Date Deposited: 03 Nov 2022 03:19
Last Modified: 03 Nov 2022 03:19
URI: https://eprints.batchelor.edu.au/id/eprint/730

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