Perspectives are ways of seeing the world. Our perspectives affect the way we see others, the way we interact with the environment and the perceptions we have about our culture and ourselves.
These factors all contribute to our perspectives or standpoints:
- personal and family experiences
- group and religious affiliations
- linguistic understandings
- media—text and visual representations
- cultural beliefs and values.
Perspectives are not limited to a particular way of viewing or experiencing the world from one specific group or cultural perspective. Individual and collective identities contribute to the various perspectives we hold.
It is not a one-way view of the world—Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives are inclusive of non-Indigenous peoples’ perspectives.
Perspectives on Australian history, local and national developments should not be viewed as separate to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives on Australian history.
Each event and circumstance has impacted on another, for example, colonisation has impacted on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and they have impacted on local and regional development.
EATSIPS encourages schools to rethink the ways in which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives are conceptualised, and in particular, the way in which these perspectives are positioned as something that exists at the margins of mainstream education policy and programs.
Consider the following:
- The majority of principals, school leaders and teachers within schools are non-Indigenous, possibly with limited experiences of working with or socialising with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
- Non-Indigenous perspectives are filtered through Western ways of knowing and doing.
- The majority of history written about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples has been recorded and researched by non-Indigenous people.
- Non-Indigenous people mediate the majority of mainstream media representations of Indigenous peoples.
- Non-Indigenous people have developed and delivered most Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education resources and programs existing today.
We need to consider the implications of a non-Indigenous perspective to understand both the nation’s past and ongoing relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous Australians, and how these perspectives impact on what we teach and learn in the school environment.