Reminder from Wiradjuri woman that Australia Day is a time for sharing multiple perspectives

Reminder from Wiradjuri woman that Australia Day is a time for sharing multiple perspectives

by Freya Lucas

January 25, 2022

There are many reasons why 26 January and ‘Australia Day’ are controversial, painful and traumatic for First Nations peoples, Wiradjuri woman and teacher Jordyn Green has explained, saying the annual ‘day’ is a timely reminder that we need to continue to teach younger generations about our history and controversial topics in a culturally sensitive way.

 

Ms Green is a primary school teacher and said that while many Australians have some idea about the violent and devastating history of colonisation in Australia since 1788, far fewer Australians understand that colonialism and the effects of colonisation still exist today. 

 

In her role as Aboriginal Education Coordinator, Ms Green has witnessed firsthand the importance of providing resources that equip educators with the knowledge, skills and confidence to teach about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and people.

 

“When children grow up believing that Australia Day is a day that all Australians should celebrate because we are all so lucky and privileged to live in Australia, it implies that all Australians are treated equally in this country, but that simply is not true,” Ms Green explained.

 

“I think there are more and more educators each year committed to providing a First Nations perspective in lessons about Australia Day, but sadly, I believe there are still a lot of educators who prefer to keep their lessons ‘positive’ and avoid all mentions of changing or even abolishing the date and they then miss the mark on what 26 January actually means to First Nations peoples,” she added.

 

While Ms Green’s comments relate to students and educators in a primary school setting, there are elements of her perspective which correlate with the early years also. 

 

Fellow primary educator Danielle Shaw said many resources relating to Australia Day are “from generic providers that lack authenticity”.


“Many teachers don’t hold the knowledge themselves to then impart correct information onto their students and they can often bring with them their own preconceived ideas or prejudices in regard to Indigenous Australians,” Ms Shaw added, calling for resources to be shared that allow educators to “break this highly complex, emotive and often politically charged content around 26 January into learning chunks”.

 

For information on Australia Day in an early childhood context, please see here. 

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