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Message Stick in Classroom spaces
By Ricki Spencer
Posted: 2022-12-27T14:00:00Z

Working with the Message Stick in classroom spaces

Exploring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education into our classrooms can open the door for students and teachers into a deeper understanding of for and about, First Nations People’s lives through the lens of families, communities, environments and man-made systems of power and privilege. The focus of each encounter with our culture should be embraced through an open honest dialogue with our students about First Nations People’s lived and living experiences of the consequences of colonialism and the importance of truth telling through the changing story on self-determination and justice.

 The process of what to include in our schools has been compounded through the proliferation of research and opinion pieces flooded in an overcrowded curriculum and balancing the need to ensure all content is delivered in a timely matter for all year levels in primary and secondary school spaces to enable an authentic representation of the issues faced by First Nations Peoples across Australia.  Teachers and curriculum developers may consider three key points when selecting material for your classrooms.

 These include: 1.   Voicing Perspectives; Is the content representative of First Nations People’s experiences written by First Nations scholars (including Elders Voices from diverse clans)? 2. Intersectional Experiences; Does the content provide diverse perspectives of First Nations identities across the country (regional, rural, remote, and metropolitan) and intersectionality’s (age, gender, sexualities, disabilities, adopted, fostered, stolen)? 3. Currency of Views; Does the material sourced consider the current political and economic climate operating in Australian Public Policies as to provide students with a deep understanding the underlying ideologies operating to readdress its complex relationship with the past present and ongoing race relations and through equitable access to services and resources.




 To meet the needs of all our students and to ensure that as teachers we must self-manage to become familiar, we can guide all students to locate and interrogate reputable resources that will provide a wide range of views and perspectives so that they can have an informed view and be able to understand race relations and impact of colonialism upon all aspects of everyday Australia.  The current political climate in Australia to frame a way forward in working with First Nations Peoples across the country is intertwined through two approaches; Uluru Statement of the heart and Truth Treaty and Voice. Both perspectives shine on centring Voice as the way forward, from a decolonialised framework.


The following papers provide a gateway to challenging some of the ways we think about how to present pockets of knowledge for our diverse student cohorts across the years through an authentic lens.


Ricki Spencer Proud First Nations Trans Teacher

 PhD Candidate, M.Ed., BSW, B.Ed. BA.

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