As this week is National Reconciliation Week, and NAIDOC Week falls in early July, we at the VEC decided that it would be timely to provide teachers with activities they can use to promote greater understanding between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, explore a bit of the history of Indigenous Australia (particularly the process of Indigenous Australians obtaining the vote), and prompt students to consider the importance of voting in light of the historic disenfranchisement of Indigenous Australians.
As a part of the NRW celebrations, some of us at the VEC went on a walk with “Aboriginal Tours and Education Melbourne” or A-TAEM- an amazing local company who run cultural heritage and Indigenous knowledge tours for schools, businesses, and individuals. The tour we went on was immersive and fascinating, opening our eyes to the hidden history of our nation and specifically our city. Our guide emphasised to us how important it is to grow in our understanding of Indigenous culture and use this knowledge to ensure the next generation grows up connected to land, whether they be Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander or not.
We believe it’s also vitally important to ensure our next generation grows up with the knowledge of what happened in the past, and are educated about both the positive and negative components of Australian history. This education will go towards ensuring a better, more reconciled community, and a greater understanding and appreciation of the rights which all Australians now possess- specifically that of voting.
Please find attached an activity designed to encourage your students to engage with Indigenous electoral history as well as use some historical analysis, research and evaluation skills to investigate this area of our nation’s history.
We hope you’ve found this week’s content useful during this special week of celebration- and beyond! Let’s make every week National Reconciliation Week and aim toward an Australia where everyone’s voice is heard, regardless of their race, religion, colour, or creed.