Listening to Country: weaving First Peoples knowledge and perspectives into curriculum in an Australian Context

February 11, 2021
Eddie Synot’s nephew on country

This panel discussion features Teaching Elders and First Peoples Reference Committee from the Weaving First Peoples Knowledge and Perspectives within Curriculum Project. Comprised of Traditional Owners, and Custodians, Elders, present and emerging, the panel will also share insights and philosophies of Australia’s First People.

This is a chance to value the work involved in creating engagement with and between communities, understand the emotional labour of engaging in this space, and the importance of working with and supporting each other.


Panel event: Australian First People: Weaving First People’s Knowledge into a University Course, February 24, 2021, 5 – 6 pm EST. Recording here

First People’s Reference Committee: Associate Professor Mary Graham is a Kombumerri person, Traditional Owner and well-respected academic from the University of Queensland. Mary is a Kombumerri person (Gold Coast) through her father’s heritage and affiliated with Wakka Wakka (South Burnett) through her mother’s people.  Uncle John Graham is also a Kombumerri man, Griffith Council of Elder, Traditional Owner and part of the Yugambeh language group. Eddie Synott is a Wamba Wamba man who writes about Indigenous experience at the intersections of law, culture and society, and part of the committee working toward recognition of Aboriginal People in Australia’s constitution.

Left to right: Eddie Synot, Uncle John Graham, Aunty Mary Graham
Photo: Dylan Crawford

Weaving First Peoples’ knowledge into a university course

This project set out to ensure First Peoples knowledge and perspectives hold their own place within the curriculum and assist students engaging with the development of First Peoples theoretical frameworks within an Australian Context. Developed and delivered by the Elders from the Reference Committee it was important to ensure the course content was able to be delivered as a stand alone module that is both culturally appropriate and reflects the rightful place of our First Peoples within Australian Culture.  Equally important was that knowledge and culture was interwoven through all academic elements of the course delivery. 

Teaching Elders inform the curriculum to ensure our course becomes both a model of, and leader in, developing Indigenous Capability for students and Industry Partners engaging with the course.

Findings from the research project indicate 70% of students believe First Peoples Content should be included in their program of study. Significantly,87% of the students who had previously engaged with the study of First People content previously said they found the First Peoples Teaching Elders greatly enhanced their understanding of First People’s perspectives.

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