In this essay Heiss discusses Indigenous-authored works that are targeted for upper-primary and young adult readers, that address issues of identity, self esteem, relationships and peer-group pressure that are available for both educators and students. Heiss recommends that these works discussed in this essay, will not only engage young Indigenous students, but also non-Indigenous students and other readers with a sense of sameness in terms of coming of age, facing friendships, and the growing pains that all teenagers face.
'Although Australian indigenous poetry is often overtly polemical and politically committed, any reading which analyzes it as mere propaganda is too narrow to do it justice. By presenting the verse of Alf Taylor collected in Singer Songwriter (1992) and Winds (1994) and discussing it in the context of the wider social and cultural milieu of the author, my essay aims to show the thematic richness of indigenous poetic expression. Indigenous poets have, on the one hand, undertaken the responsibility to strive for social and political equality and foster within their communities the very important concept that indigenous peoples can survive only as a community and a nation (McGuiness). On the other hand, they have produced powerful self-revelatory accounts of their own mental and emotional interior, which urges us to see their careers in a perspective much wider than that of social chroniclers and rebels.' (Publication abstract)
'The stories told by Ruby Langford Ginibi in Don't Take Your Love to Town, Sally Morgan My Place, and Mudrooroo in Wild Cat Falling provide the starting point for discussions on some of the key events and issues that have affected Aboriginal people.
Part 1: 'Aboriginal Experience' looks at the practice of removing Aboriginal children from their families, and denial of Aboriginality and equal rights. Part 2: 'Reclaiming Identity' looks at the importance of the family and the land to Aboriginal people and their quest to reclaim their identity.'