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Classroom Ideas
Coordinated by BlackWords Team
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  • On Country...

    'When non-Aboriginal Australians talk of “stories of place” with an Aboriginal context in mind, many immediately think of traditional stories, stories used by our old people to pass on cultural information and knowledge, or the history of a specific geographic region, and the significant sites of such areas.'

    'For Aboriginal writers, stories of place include those where families in the past were removed to, once their traditional lands were taken. These ‘created spaces’ (for example missions and reserves) became places of significant meaning for many, while at the same time they were physically disconnecting them from their own country.'

    (Heiss, Anita, BlackWords: Writers on Country. 2015)

    The resources listed here will take you to writings and other resources that explore Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders’ diverse experiences of ‘country’. In the essay BlackWords: Writers on Country, Dr Anita Heiss breaks down stereotypes about Indigenous relationships with the land and provides valuable background for teachers wishing to explore this concept further with their students. The essay BlackWords: Children’s Literature About Country explores children’s and young adult literature by aboriginal writers who focus on the meaning of place.

  • How do I find locally relevant literature and other resources?

    Teachers can easily search the BlackWords database for locally relevant literature and other resources – or, of course, for resources related to any geographical location in Australia and the Torres Straits.

    Instructions for conducting general searches of BlackWords can be found here.

    In order to locate geographically-relevant literature and resources, first consult the interactive map of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander countries produced by the Australian Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. This map attempts to represent all the language, tribal or nation groups of the Aboriginal peoples of Australia.

    Then, go to the Advanced Search page. Under ‘Project’ select ‘BlackWords’ and in the ‘Keyword’ box type the name of the relevant country (although you can also type the name of a specific town, city etc). The example below – showing only two of the possible search parameters - was completed for the country (Bundjalung) on which modern day Byron Bay is located. Of course, the search can be refined in the usual ways.

  • We have gathered resources about a range of locations around Australia - find these below. The resources listed can be used in a range of subject areas as they cover both fiction and non-fiction. Thus, they can be useful for general research (e.g. the impact of colonisation on specific First Nations people) or for close study in English and the Arts in their own right or alongside more conventional texts. For English, Drama and Media studies, there is also the opportunity to locate works by individual writers and producers.

    See also the BlackWords: Writers on Country trail. It provides a general list of resources grouped under the following headings: big city dreaming stories; modern-day fringe dwellers; writing the Kimberley and Pilbara; creating spaces that become important country; and further readings.

  • Trails on Specific Regions of Country

    Our trails continue to build on stories told of and from country. The law held by senior custodians of these places is encoded in diverse works and interviews. We have also located a number of literary works within these regions and documented stories from these places.
  • Adnyamathanha People and Stories

    Bundjalung People and Stories 

    Here you will find literature and other resources related to the Flinders Range area in South Australia. Resources include: autobiography, biography and life story; short stories; children’s books; poets and poetry; criticism and non-fiction; further readings; and organisations.

    The Bundjalung are the people’s of the northern coastal area of New South Wales. Resources include: autobiography, biography and life story; writers and novels; poets and poetry; theatre and film; further readings; and organisations.

    From Byron to Brisbane and Beyond

    Gulf Country people and stories

    This page is an accessible entry point to works by and about members of Australian language and heritage groups on lands from Byron Bay, through Brisbane, and beyond into North Queensland.

    A set of resources that takes in Aboriginal communities spread around the coast in both the Northern Territory and Queensland, as well as various island groups. Resources here are grouped by language, as well as islands such as Groote Eylandt, Mornington Island, Bentinck Island. This trail also takes in works from Mt Isa, Boulia and Cloncurry. Resources include stories, non-fiction, memoir, novel, autobiography and biography, children’s books and a songbook. Teachers will recognise a number of well-known writers including Alexis Wright, Charles Perkins, footballer Scott Prince and performer Steven Oliver.

    Noongar People and Stories   

      Noongar Theatre and Film         

    The Noongar are people from the south west of Western Australia. Resources listed include: autobiography, biography and life story; children’s books and plays; poets and poetry; organisations; and further readings.

    Here you will find information on drama and playwrights, as well as film and television. English teachers will be especially interested in the video of Shakespearean sonnets being performed in aboriginal Noongar language.

    Noonuccal/Nunukul People and Stories 

    The Noonuccal people come from North Stradbroke Island, in Moreton Bay off Brisbane, Queensland. Resources listed include: people, poetry and stories; children’s books; playwrights, plays, theatre and film; criticism and non-fiction works; and organisations. As well as including links to poetry and prose works by Oodgeroo Noonuccal, there are many interesting resources including an analysis of white feminism through the eyes of Geonpul woman, Eillen Moreton-Robinson.

    Wiradjuri People and Stories 

    Geographically, the Wiradjuri nation is the second largest and was originally from an area in New South Wales bordered by the Lachlan, Macquarie and Murrumbidgee Rivers. Resources listed include: autobiography, biography and life stories; children’s books and plays; novels; poets and poetry; playwrights and drama; film and television; criticism and works of non-fiction; and organisations. These lists include works by well-known playwright, Kevin Gilbert, and producer John Bell’s ‘The Gods of Wheat Street’.

    Or view all trails together.

  • Key Texts

    • (Scheme : #b88360)

      Welcome to my country

    • (Scheme : #b88360)

      Young Dark Emu

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