Last month I attended a number of events of the Clancestry Arts and Cultural Festival at QPAC in Brisbane. As I was standing there listening to the performances, I was struck by how easily accessible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander happenings are in Brisbane.
Being a fan of Pride and Prejudice, my mind wandered to Lizzie Bennett, as I thought about the amount of times I have heard Australian teachers say things like,
I’ve never met an Aboriginal person.
But it’s really hard to know who to contact or where.
I don’t know have an opportunity to meet Aboriginal people.
I don’t have the confidence to teach Indigenous studies.
I’m afraid I will offend.
In a city like Brisbane, that has relatively well resourced institutions like QAG | GOMA, Brisbane City Council, QPAC, State Library of Queensland, that have events on throughout each year as part of their normal programming, you would have to live in a little bubble, if you didn’t understand that you have many an opportunity to further your experience.
Embedding Indigenous knowledges to a point where you can speak and teach with even a degree of confidence, is NOT GOING TO HAPPEN OVERNIGHT. But unlike the commercial, it actually won’t happen if you don’t make it happen. You cannot read a text book and suddenly have all the answers, you can’t even simply do one Indigenous unit at university. That’s not enough.
We are doing so much to further the conversation, but in the end, it’s up to you to take responsibility for your knowledge (or lack of it). Like Lizzie Bennett, understand that perhaps it is your fault because you did not take the time to practice.
Further reading on this topic:
- Can I pick your brains?
- Incorporating Perspectives
- Embedding Indigenous knowledges – What’s Your Investment?
Find Indigenous Studies and indigenous Education Resources at the Critical Classroom Amazon Store.