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Traditional Aboriginal law and democratic practices in Australia before 1788
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Traditional Aboriginal law and democratic practices in Australia before 1788
Hsie Stage 3 Primary outcomes: CCS3.1 and CCS3.2 Students learn about "Aboriginal democratic practices before British Colonisation".
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that these resources may contain images and voices of people who have died.
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Twelve Canoes

Twelve Canoes | Traditional Aboriginal law and democratic practices in Australia before 1788 | Scoop.it
12 Canoes is a broadband website presenting, in an artistic, cultural and educational context, the stories, art and environment of the Yolngu people who live around the Arafura swamp in north-eastern Arnhem Land.
Allegra h-k's insight:

This website is a fantastic resource which contains videos and first hand oral information from the Yolngu people of Ramingining in the Northern Territory.

When looking at traditional law and democratic practices of Aboriginal people before British colonisation it’s important to understand that their law and practices relate directly to their spirituality and culture. Their laws and customs passed on by the elders, ancestors and spirits and taught through dreamtime and the sharing of knowledge and experience encompass all forms of life; including how to behave towards one another, who to marry, and rules about the land including sustainability and hunting etc.

The video titled Kinship and another titled Ancestors are very good resources which could be watched in a lesson to get an understanding of some of these themes, and how they relate to their law system. It is important to build an in-depth understanding of culture, spirituality and relationships to understand the traditional Aboriginal law systems. It is important too, to recognise that each group of people can have different beliefs and law systems specific to their region and this website concentrates on the Yognu people specifically.

The website contains a multitude of resources to build an understanding of the culture of the Yolgnu people, and there are direct activities and resources on the website that could be used by a teacher to teach a class, or a teacher could extrapolate important ideas and concepts to teach both in aboriginal traditional law and other areas.

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Life in Indigenous Australian Communities

Life in Indigenous Australian Communities | Traditional Aboriginal law and democratic practices in Australia before 1788 | Scoop.it
Allegra h-k's insight:

Life in Indigenous Australian Communities (2006) is a junior reference book that contains first hand accounts of life in four indigenous communities in Australia; the Yolngu people from Gawa, Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory, the Anangu people in Haasts Bluff, Central Desert in the Northern Territory, the Tiwi people living in Nguiu in Bathurst Island in the Northern Territory, and the Kija people living in Warmun, East Kimberly, in Western Australia.

Most of the knowledge about Aboriginal Traditional Law (lore) pre 1788, comes from parts of Australia where these customs and traditions are still in practice. The book provides lots of information about each of these Aboriginal communities with topics such as daily life, roles and relationships, the law, language etc. Students studying this book or aspects from this book would develop a detailed understanding about one or many Aboriginal communities in Australia.

A teacher could use this book as a resource for creating a group work assessment. In groups students could focus on one of the four Aboriginal communities, give an overview of the culture and specific law and democratic or non-democratic practices practiced by their chosen group (the teacher could give supplementary information if required). They could then present the information they’ve learned to the class, with perhaps the use of visual aids, such as posters and drawings. After everyone has done a presentation to the class, the teacher and students could have a class discussion about the similarities and differences of practices between the four Indigenous communities.
 

In terms of specifically looking at law, the book gives information on traditional practices (which would have been performed pre 1788) and how these communities settle disputes today taking into consideration the western justice system. It’s interesting to see how many of these communities try to find a balance between the two systems, which is also a valuable discussion point. In creating a project based assessment task for this topic I think teachers would benefit from the 8 Aboriginal ways of learning pedagogy (cited at: http://8ways.wikispaces.com/). Incorporating aspects of the traditional Aboriginal learning styles into their own classroom regardless whether they are teaching indigenous students or not would make for a more enriching learning experience about Aboriginal culture when teaching any indigenous based topics.

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download.php?id=131

Allegra h-k's insight:

This report titled Traditional Customary Laws and Indigenous Peoples in Asia looks at a number of issues surrounding the recognition of various customary laws of Indigenous people in Asia and their incorporation into the mainstream law systems. The document defines Indigenous people in this context, and lists the groups which are considered Indigenous Asians.

Similarities to Aboriginal Australian ethical issues can be made with this report, surrounding the implications of recognising Aboriginal customary law and seeking to incorporate it into mainstream justice systems. The document goes very in-depth, and a teacher would need to extrapolate key ideas and common concerns that could be related back to Indigenous Australians.

The report also looks at a number of major challenges including issues of gender, equality, children’s rights and other human rights issues. For example “In cases where customary law practices violate women or children’s basic rights as recognized in international human rights standards, strong efforts need to be made to discontinue such practices”. This resource gives an interesting global perspective to a topic that seems very insular to Australia.

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Aboriginal law and spirituality definied within a specific clan perspective from within pan-aboriginal interpretations

Allegra h-k's insight:

This link is to an academic paper titled Aboriginal law and spirituality definied within a specific clan perspective from within pan-aboriginal interpretations (2003). This paper is very useful in developing a detailed understanding of aboriginal law and practices. It is written by an Aboriginal academic named Cheri Yavu Kama Harathunian who goes into detail about the interconnectedness between spirituality, cultural beliefs and practices and their law system.

A teacher could extrapolate detailed information about these concepts. The document also explains the roles of women and men in the decision making process when looking at crime and punishment, and also looks at how the victim and their family as well as the offender are present in the decision process when developing punishment for a crime. The differing but equally valuable roles and ideas of collaboration can be compared to traditional ideas about democracy so with this information a teacher can make direct comparisons between traditional Aboriginal law practices and modern themes of democracy.

A teacher could make a comprehension-based lesson, or an assessment in which students have to then write or brainstorm similarities and differences when comparing traditional aboriginal law to western democratic practices. The article also looks at some of the ethical issues surrounding the application of western law systems to Aboriginal communities, and the necessity to acknowledge traditional aboriginal law today. A teacher could use this information to pose ethical questions to the students.

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Recognition of Aboriginal Customary Laws (ALRC Report 31) | ALRC

Recognition of Aboriginal Customary Laws (ALRC Report 31) | ALRC | Traditional Aboriginal law and democratic practices in Australia before 1788 | Scoop.it
Allegra h-k's insight:

This report titled Recognition of the Aboriginal customary laws (ALRC report 31) seeks to recognise and incorporate traditional Aboriginal customary laws into the Australian Legal system. Section 4 titled Aboriginal Customary laws and Anglo-Australian Law after 1788 gives a good overview of the aspects of Aboriginal Law that all Aboriginal communities have in common, but also stresses that the different communities should not be generalised.

The report encompasses a number of topics, including ethical issues of Aboriginal people and communities being prosecuted under Anglo-Australian laws, and the importance of recognising traditional laws. Under Section 21, there is a part titled “Aboriginal Customary laws and the notion of punishment”. Some of the information in this section could be paraphrased by a teacher to inform a class about traditional punishments and the differing ways they are decided upon by Aboriginal communities compared to Anglo-Australian forms of justice, for example, Anglo-Australian democracy often has pre-determined punishments for crimes based on their severity, whereas in Aboriginal democratic systems the punishment for a crime is discussed by the community on a case by case basis. After educating the class about these factors, a teacher could then set a task where students are given a scenario of a crime and have to role play in group or as a class the deliberation and discussion of an appropriate punishment from an Aboriginal perspective.

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