First Nations

Cross-Curriculum Priority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures:

First Nations Speakers

Looking to engage a First Nations speaker? Your first port of call should be your school's KESO (Koorie Education Support Officer). If you're not sure who that is, you can contact your region's Koorie Education Coordinator and they should be able to put you in touch. Your Local Aboriginal Education Consultative Group may also be able to help. You might also like to try getting in touch with your local nation or language group - Dja Dja Wurrung Aboriginal Corporation have a website.


Education Resources

Do you feel confident about teaching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures? Does your teaching promote reconciliation? Research suggests that many teachers struggle in these areas. Don't let your own lack of knowledge be a barrier. 

For more information, read an article based on content from a new resource for teachers:

Teaching First Nations Content and Concepts in the Drama Classroom: Advice for Teachers in Victorian Schools

This resource was developed as part of an ongoing collaboration between ILBIJERRI Theatre Company, Drama Victoria, and Monash University. It was instigated through the vision, insight, and determined spirit of Kamarra Bell-Wykes (Yagera/Batjala), ILBIJERRI’s Education and Learning Manager from 2014-2018. Its realisation was made possible by Kamarra, together with the First Nations performing artists who contributed to the ILBIJERRI Advisory Groups she convened in 2015 and 2016 to respond to teachers’ questions and concerns about teaching First Nations content and concepts in the drama classroom. The resource itself was co-authored by Kamarra Bell-Wykes, Rachel Forgasz, and Danielle Hradsky.

It is structured using a Question & Answer approach which is intended to make it easy to search for the answers you need, but also to highlight that there are very rarely easy answers to difficult and sometimes awkward questions. What is important is to be willing to ask the questions and to act in the face of uncertainty.

As well as answering teachers' questions about what and how they should teach, the ILBIJERRI Advisory Group provided fascinating insight into the why, including complex and diverse perspectives on why some approaches are more appropriate than others, why it matters to teach First Nations peoples’ perspectives in the first place, and what is at stake in doing so. Throughout the resource, we deliberately kept those tensions in play since they often provide the richest opportunities for teacher professional learning and deep contemplation.

Respecting the multiple perspectives and unique expertise of its various contributors – artists, teachers, and teacher educators – is one of the great strengths of this resource. The time we took to create it is another. By going slow, we formed real relationships, the kind that make it possible to be vulnerable, to be challenged, and to learn and change. It is our sincere hope that engaging with this resource invites similar opportunities for you.

Dr Rachel Forgasz, Monash University (on behalf of the Advice For Victorian Teachers team)


Teaching First Nations Content and Concepts - Panel Discussion

In this panel discussion you will hear from the co-authors of the Teaching First Nations Content & Concepts in the Drama Classroom Advice Document along with education and performing arts industry leaders about the development of the resource, and its unique approach to supporting reconciliation education in school and community settings.



Drama Victoria Professional Learning Series - In this Together: Reconciliation through Drama Education

Cost: $19.99 (inc GST)     Presented by Danielle Hradsky & Kristy Griffin - members of Drama Victoria's Committee of Management.

In this practical workshop Drama Victoria explores what reconciliation means for Drama education. Using "process drama" techniques we explore the five dimensions of reconciliation: race relations, historical acceptance, equality and equity, institutional integrity, and unity. The activities are designed for a middle years (7-10) Drama class (however, it can be adapted for senior secondary or primary school) so that you can use the workshop with your own classes if you wish. When you purchase this video, please email a copy of your receipt to Drama Victoria and you will be forwarded the PowerPoint presentation and lesson plans -


Evolving Culture - A Middle Years Drama Unit  

$29.95 Non-Members, Members: Free (Members click here)

A fully-developed one-term unit of work, exploring the connections between culture, stories, and identity.  As well as their personal identities, students engage with the complexities of exploring and expressing First Nations characters, cultures, and stories. Evolving Culture is based on the 2020 Drama Victoria Theatre Festival workshops, but has been further developed to include an entire term's work. Included in this package is a student booklet, which allows students to work independently at home, a teacher unit-plan with suggestions for dividing up the work, an assessment rubric aligned with the Victorian Curriculum, and a teacher PowerPoint to get you started with 'face-to-face' lessons. Assessment tasks include an interactive art installation performance, two monologues, and an ensemble performance - all of which can be completed in isolation.

Australia Council for the Arts Protocols for Using First Nations Cultural and Intellectual Property in the Arts (2020)
This protocol guide spells out clearly the legal as well as the ethical and moral considerations for the use of Indigenous cultural material in arts and cultural projects. It can help people do the right thing. This protocol guide recognises that in Indigenous Australian communities, the artist is a custodian of culture with obligations as well as privileges.

Australian history is much larger and more varied than the one told in classrooms - article by Carly Jia for IndigenousX, 24 Sept 2020
"Imagine a world where information is based on facts, not hyperbole and mistruths. A world where Australians truly appreciate and understand the trauma, context, history, and their impacts. Instead too much attention is paid to misinformation, and false narratives. It is essential that as a nation we have these critical conversations and be privy to all sides of the narrative, to avoid making assumptions or biases based on ignorance and privilege. Education is the key, and schools are the place for this to happen."

Australia Council for the Arts (2016), Showcasing Creativity: Programming and presenting First Nations performing arts, Sydney
Showcasing Creativity is the second of two deep-dive research pieces commissioned by the Australia Council for the Arts, with the aim of providing an evidence base to underpin a strong First Nations arts ecology, and a rich and diverse art sector: a sector that builds audiences for First Nations arts; and showcases First Nations creativity, talent and stories. Showcasing Creativity is a provocation to the arts sector. It asks for an examination of the assumptions on which programming and presenting decisions are made across the country. It provides the opportunity and an evidence base to inform an important cultural dialogue in the performing arts.

Narragunnawali Curriculum Resources
Use the Narragunnawali suite of early learning, primary and secondary curriculum resources to promote reconciliation and to strengthen children and students’ knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and contributions. The resources can be used as they are or adapted to suit the local community context. Each resource encompasses elements of the Early Years Learning Framework and the Australian Curriculum, and aligns with Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) Actions.

Narragunnawali Professional Learning
Use the Narragunnawali professional learning resources to build staff awareness and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures, and contributions, and to support the implementation of reconciliation initiatives. 
The activities suggested in the resources are designed to be teacher-led and can be used individually, in small groups or during staff meetings.