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The inclusion of Aboriginal language programs within a school’s mainstream curriculum has long been the aspiration of many NSW Aboriginal communities. With the introduction of the NSW Aboriginal Languages K – 10 Syllabus (2003) schools now have a coherent and sequential curriculum that can inform the establishment of Aboriginal language programs. In implementing language programs schools may encounter Aboriginal community resistance and/or hostility across a number of educational, social and political issues.

This case study provides an exemplar for schools to engage with Aboriginal communities to strengthen relationships in establishing authentic curriculum programs that positively privilege Aboriginal cultural knowledge, languages and histories. It explores the views of eight Aboriginal educators in a geographically remote central school in western NSW who sought to establish a local Aboriginal community language program Issues such as contemporary Aboriginal cultural identity, trust, and the importance of Aboriginal language revitalisation to Aboriginal communities are identified. What clearly emerges from this case study is the critical role of school leadership in establishing educational relationships to address such issues and concerns and the capacity of Aboriginal people to challenge ingrained curriculum and pedagogical practices.


Institute for Advancing Community Engagement

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Conference Paper

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