|Scooped by Patrick Ell|
The Royal Botanic Gardens occupy an historic area of great significant to both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians. For Aboriginal Australians, and particularly the Cadgial nation, the Sydney basin is profoundly sacred site, being valued as the last resting place of the Cadigal nation (Royal Botanic Garden and Domain Trust). In addition for both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians the land marks the area of the first interactions between European settlers and the indigenous population. In recognition of the importance of this land the botanic gardens has created a specific display called Cadi Jam Ora: First Encounters. Its aim is to explore these encounters and convey Aboriginal people’s prior use of the site and their understanding of plants and the environment.
I would seek to organise an excursion to the gardens in order to allow children to experience a sense of how local Aboriginal people used the land prior to first contact, but also to explore how Aboriginal people relate to the land today by involving members of the local Aboriginal community. I would seek to build a relationship with representatives of the local of the Cadigal nation prior to asking them to attend the excursion and also to build the learning outcomes intended for the children in consultation with them (NSW Board of Studies, 2008). In doing so this resource could be used to fulfil the ACARA curriculum outcomes that students should ‘explore ways of experiencing landscapes by conducting fieldwork with Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Peoples and reading listening to, or performing Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander People’s explanations of the original of particular landforms.’ I would also intend the resource to help me fulfil the NSW AITSL Graduate teaching standard 2.4 (promoting reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians).
The excursion’s focus on how Aboriginal people used the land prior to the arrival of Europeans would also work to increase student’s knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander people as the First Peoples of Australia. With the involvement of the local Aboriginal community studnets would also be able to identify ‘some significant customs, practices and traditions of their local community’ (CUS2.3).
NSW DET Aboriginal Educaiton and Training Policy, 2008.
Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) 2013e. Draft years 3-10 Australian Curriculum Civics and Citizenship.
NSW Australian Professional Standards for Teachers, from the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL), 2012.