With the introduction of the cross-curriculum priority in the Australian Curriculum and specific focus areas on teaching about Indigenous histories and cultures and Indigenous students, the urgency to support educators in their endeavours of building their knowledge and understanding about our shared histories and beyond has increased exponentially.
This forum reminds us that the past informs the present and shapes the future and so we ask, what are the possible futures for Indigenous education and reconciliation?
We will explore the many critical junctures of the past, present and possible futures for education systems in Australia. What are the challenges and successes that demand attention? What are the current and possible future directions for Indigenous education and reconciliation in Australia?
The forum is a place to address the historical, political, cultural and social contextual factors in which educational practice, policy and research take shape.
We will interrogate whether current policy, pedagogies and praxis are answering the calls for transformative education and open up space to map out possible future directions.
Forum MC: Mx Sharon Davis
9:00 Welcome to Country
Ms Selina Walker, Ngunnawal woman
9:15 Co-host Forum Welcome
Ms Karen Mundine and Associate Professor Melitta Hogarth
9:30 The Past
– Aunty Geraldine Atkinson
– Aunty Professor Tracey Bunda
– Professor Leanne Holt
– Associate Professor Joe Sambono
Discussant: Associate Professor Melitta Hogarth
11:00 Morning tea
11:30 The Present
– Mr Max Lenoy
– Mr Cameron Power
– Mr Danny Pinchas
– Ms Rhonda Livingstone
– Ms Sally Cooper
Discussant: Professor Larissa McLean Davies
2:00 AEDT The Future
– Professor Marcia Langton AO
– Professor Tom Calma AO
– Ms Dyonne Anderson
– Ms Shannan Dodson
– Ms Hayley McQuire
Discussant: Ms Karen Mundine, CEO Reconciliation Australia
3:30 Closing Address
4:00 Forum concludes
All times shown are in Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT).
- Aunty Geraldine Atkinson, President, Victorian Aboriginal Education Association
- Professor Leanne Holt, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Indigenous, University of New South Wales
- Aunty Professor Tracey Bunda, Professor, Indigenous Education, The University of Queensland
- Associate Professor Joe Sambono, Queensland University of Technology
Discussant: Associate Professor Melitta Hogarth, Associate Professor in Indigenous Education, Faculty of Education & Project Director of Ngarrngga University of Melbourne
“This is not a matter of race, this is a matter of education and opportunity. This is why we ask for a better education and better opportunity for our people” – Uncle Jack Patten, 1938 Day of Mourning
For decades, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have advocated for opportunities to participate equally and equitably in all areas of life, inclusive of education.
The inclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and knowledge systems within education and other institutions has been a call to action by Indigenous peoples for decades.
Looking back at the critical junctures where Indigenous peoples took up the opportunities to drive change, we celebrate the tenacity and strength of our Old People to better understand the present.
“Reconciliation does not work to a strict timeline like other projects. It succeeds or fails in the hearts and minds of all Australians.” Dr Aunty Evelyn Scott AO
What are the critical junctures in education where we have succeeded and failed to ensure that Indigenous Knowledges, histories and cultures are central to our work as educators? What can we learn from these successes and shortcomings?
- Mr Max Lenoy, ACARA
- Danny Pinchas, AITSL
- Cameron Power, ESA
- Rhonda Livingstone, ACECQA
- Sally Cooper AERO
Discussant: Professor Larissa McLean Davies, University of Melbourne
“Our vision is for a world class education system that encourages and supports every student to be the very best they can be, no matter where they live or what kind of learning challenges they may face.” Mparntwe Declaration, 2019
The aspirational goal set by Education Ministers to support every student to be the very best they can be is enacted and translated through the very systems that we are all a part of.
Maintaining focus on promoting reconciliation through education ensures that opportunities are afforded to all Australian students to learn about the achievements and contributions of Indigenous peoples to Australian society.
Looking at the present, we interrogate whether current policy, pedagogies and praxis are answering the calls for equality and equity in education for all.
“It is evident that many Australians are unaware of our cultures, our histories, or the racism imbued in the Australian Constitution. That so many Australian people believe there is no race or division on race in the current Australian Constitution speaks to the need for better education on Australian history and better civics education.
“We have faith that the upswelling of support through this Referendum has ignited a fire for many to walk with us on our journey towards justice. Our truths have been silenced for too long” An open letter to the Prime Minister, MPs and Senators from a group of First Nations leaders, community members and organisations who supported a Yes vote in the referendum. 22 October 2023.
As Australian citizens, and as representatives of education stakeholders, what are our responsibilities and strategies to respond to this statement?
- Professor Marcia Langton AO, University of Melbourne
- Professor Tom Calma AO, University of Canberra
- Ms Dyonne Anderson, Stronger Smarter Institure
- Ms Shannan Dodson, The Healing Foundation
- Ms Hayley McQuire, National Indigenous Youth Education Coalition
Discussant: Ms Karen Mundine, CEO Reconciliation Australia
“Imagine an Australia where all future Australian citizens have a deep understanding of the depth, wealth and diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, histories and knowledge systems” Ngarrngga, 2022
“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander self-determination is at the centre of Australian education systems, which actively engage the hearts and minds of future generations to contribute to the reconciliation process” Narragunnawali, 2023.
Education plays a critical role in building a reconciled Australia. As we look to the future, we recast our focus on the past and present and how these learnings can inform and shape our aspirations and work moving forward.
In this place and time, we open space to map out the possible future directions in education to build positive two-way relationships informed by the collective rights of Indigenous peoples supported by the nation’s institutions.
Equality and equity is one of the five dimensions of reconciliation in Australia, and a review to inform a better and fairer education system is currently in place.
“A fairer education system as one which actively honours the rights and self-determination of First Nations students, families and communities towards improved school-based experiences and,
A better education system as one which is culturally responsive and actively recognises the business and benefits of reconciliation for all members of educational communities” Reconciliation Australia submission to the Review to inform a Better and Fairer Education System, 2023.
What is the one thing that you can do to effect change in education to shape a better and fairer education system?
Speakers and presenters
Mx Sharon Davis
Sharon Davis (pronouns: they/them) is from both Bardi and Kija Peoples of the Kimberley, and is a respected education practitioner and researcher.
Ms Karen Mundine
Karen Mundine is from the Bundjalung Nation of northern NSW. As CEO of Reconciliation Australia, she brings more than 25 years’ experience leading community engagement, advocacy, communications and social marketing campaigns.
Associate Professor Melitta Hogarth
Melitta Hogarth is a Kamilaroi woman and the Project Director of Ngarrngga. She is the Associate Dean, Indigenous, and Senior Research Fellow in the Faculty of Education at the University of Melbourne
Aunty Geraldine Atkinson
Aunty Geraldine Atkinson is a Bangerang/Wiradjuri woman who has devoted her career to expanding the possibilities available to Koorie people through education.
Professor Leanne Holt
Professor Holt is a Worimi/Biripi woman from the mid-coast of New South Wales. She is the inaugural Deputy Vice-Chancellor Indigenous at UNSW.
Aunty Professor Tracey Bunda
Professor Tracey Bunda is a Ngugi/Wakka Wakka woman and The University of Queensland Professor of Indigenous Education.
Associate Professor Joe Sambono
Joe Sambono is a Jingili man and curriculum specialist in embedding Australian First Nations histories and cultures throughout the Australian education sectors, primary to tertiary.
Mr Max Lenoy
Max Lenoy is Kuku Yalanji, Jirrbal, and Warungnu from North Queensland.
Mr Cameron Power
Cameron Power is General Manager of Corporate Services at Education Services Australia and a current board member at Are-Able who focus on creating opportunities for inclusiveness in communities.
Mr Danny Pinchas
Danny Pinchas is the General Manager, Teaching and School Leadership at AITSIL and has more than 15 years’ experience as a leader across the education sector.
Ms Rhonda Livingstone
Rhonda Livingstone is the National Education Leader and General Manager of the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA)’s Leadership, Quality and Regulatory Support Group
Ms Sally Cooper
Sally Cooper is the Principal Advisor First Nations at the Australian Education Research Organisation (AERO) and has committed her career to driving positive change for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, with a focus on health and education outcomes
Professor Larissa McLean Davies, MGSE
Larissa McLean Davies is Deputy Dean and Professor of Teacher Education in the Faculty of Education at the University of Melbourne. Her research spans the fields of teacher education and professional learning, literacy and English education and literary studies.
Professor Marcia Langton AO
Professor Marcia Langton AM is one of Australia’s most respected Indigenous academics. She has held the Foundation Chair of Australian Indigenous Studies at the University of Melbourne since 2008.
Professor Tom Calma AO
Professor Tom Calma is an Aboriginal elder from the Kungarakan tribal group and a member of the Iwaidja tribal group in the NT. He is the National Coordinator for Tackling Indigenous Smoking and Chancellor of the University of Canberra.
Ms Hayley McQuire
Hayley McQuire is a Darumbal and South Sea Islander woman born and raised in Rockhampton, Central Queensland. Her work is centred on community, relationality and convening new collectives to rethink education.
Ms Dyonne Anderson
Dyonne Anderson is a proud Githabal woman. She is CEO of the Stronger Smarter Institute and has over 30 years’ experience with the New South Wales Department of Education and Training.
Ms Shannan Dodson
Shannan Dodson is a Yawuru woman whose family is from Broome in Western Australia. She has worked in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs for almost 20 years and is the CEO of The Healing Foundation.