Stolen Generations Education


Australian colonialism swept Indigenous peoples from the landscape and systematically instituted policies over generations that sought to deprive people of their cultural identity and replaced their unique way of making sense of life. The policies focused on removing people from family, country, community and cultural expression: they resulted in disconnecting and disempowered people. The deep uncertainty and trauma caused by this fundamental deprivation and shift is a major factor in the health gap between Indigenous people and other Australians. Evidence of the impact of this deprivation is clearly visible in the much greater health inequity experienced by members of the Stolen Generations.

Link-Up QLD was funded by the Commonwealth Office of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health to produce an Education Kit on the Stolen Generations. The author is Dr Norman Sheehan, a Wiradjuri man born in Mudgee NSW, was brought up in a Catholic institution. Norm has taught in Aboriginal communities, TAFE and higher education in NSW, Tasmania and Queensland since 1979. He is currently Associate Professor at the Centre for Indigenous Knowledge and Design Anthropology (CIKADA) in the Faculty of Design at Swinburne University of Technology.

The aim of this workbook is to provide clear and challenging information and methods that help learners engage with Stolen Generations knowledge. Stolen Generations Education requires strong principles and effective methods to ensure that all participants can learn this history in ways that mediate the potential harm that arises when we expose, discuss and attempt to understand extreme social violence. A cultural strengths framework is outlined in this book that provides a safe learning place for teachers and learners through visual and narrative approaches.

Indigenous cultural strengths are a challenge for many non-indigenous teachers and learners because engagement with these approaches shifts their zones of cultural safety and security. This minor disruption is a significant learning opportunity to experience another way of knowing as an authentic starting point for the development of cultural literacy because it allows participants to see their own cultural framework and evaluate the way that it operates.

In this way the Stolen Generations Education provides a Social and Emotional Well Being framework that addresses the needs of teachers and learners in this education while also addressing the cultural competencies required by the wider Australian community.

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3 thought on “Stolen Generations Education”

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