Ancient Stories, New Voices. Dust Echoes is a series of twelve animated dreamtime stories from Central Arnhem Land in Northern Australia
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Dust echoes is an excellent resource of videos which reveal aspects of family life and themes and celebrations which are important to respective indigenous tribes throughout Australia. A suitable evaluation of the resource shows that it is a recent resource made in consultation with indigenous elders and identifies the groups and areas from which the stories originate. Furthermore it has been endorsed and developed with the Djilpin Arts Aboriginal Corporation in Arnhem Land. As told by indigenous elders, the material provides a balanced view of indigenous Australians without a hidden curriculum or bias or using photographs of deceased people in the content. However, this resource exclusively discusses Aboriginal values and family traditions, and as such Torres Strait Islanders should be addressed separately by another resource list. While the resource depicts rituals and dances, they are not of a sacred/secretive nature (Government of South Australia Aboriginal Education and Employment Services, 2012).
A teaching idea for this resource could be to show students “The Be” video and discuss different concepts of family and how indigenous peoples celebrate their relationship with the land and country. It would be best to involve the aboriginal community, or seek advice from the appropriate peoples the story originates from as to the best manner to present this information (Gilbert & Hoepper, 2011, p. 392). Students could then discuss what their family celebrates, and why this may be different to Aboriginal celebrations and cultural beliefs. Students then note similarities and differences to their own family’s practices and present the information to the class (Outcome CUS1.3 – HSIE).
A good idea for assessment could include asking students to think pair share about important people in their family. After allowing students to explore the video resources, ask students to write who/what might be central to an indigenous person’s ‘family’ and why (Links to WS1.9 – English/Literacy).
Literacy links could involve developing vocabulary from indigenous perspectives such as the “corroborre”, or “elder” as a class, and asking students to use these words to tell the story of one of the videos of their choosing. It is important to ask students to share these, as teachers will need to stress the difference and complexities of indigenous identity for the students to ensure not to trivialise these ideas (Gilbert & Hoepper, 2011, p. 393).
Board of Studies NSW (2007). English K-6 Syllabus. Sydney: Author
Board of Studies NSW (2007). Human Society and Its Environment K-6 Syllabus. Sydney: Author
Gilbert, R. & Hoepper, B. (2011). Teaching Society and Environment. 4th Edition. Victoria: Cengage Learning
Government of South Australia Aboriginal Education and Employment Services. (2012). The Selection Criteria for the Evaluation of Aboriginal Studies and Torres Strait Islander Studies. Retrieved 21 April from SA Aboriginal Education Website