Activity Introduction

Quick summary: This activity will support educators in finding out more about the Country they are on.

It is recommended that educators complete this activity for their own professional development as part of the Caring for Country – Learning for Educators unit, and before commencing activities with children from the Caring For Country – Tuning In and Themed Activities units.

Lesson Information – Who is your local Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Group?

There are two distinct Indigenous groups in Australia: 

An Aboriginal person is someone who is of Aboriginal descent, who identifies as an Aboriginal person, and is accepted as such by the community in which they live, or are connected to. The traditional lands of Aboriginal peoples are mainland Australia and most of the islands.

Torres Strait Islander people are Melanesian in origin and part of the Pacific Islander group of kinship-based societies. A Torres Strait Islander is someone who is of Torres Strait Islander descent, who identifies as a Torres Strait Islander, and is accepted as such by the community in which they live, or are connected to. The Torres Strait Islands comprise at least 274 small islands that lie between the northern tip of Cape York in Queensland and the south-west coast of Papua New Guinea. Today, many Torres Strait Islanders live on the Australian mainland.

It is important to note that there is significant diversity within these groups, and that there is no single ‘Aboriginal’ or ‘Torres Strait Islander’ identity.

A common myth is that if you have fair skin or live in a city you can’t be an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person. Skin colour and location have nothing to do with defining whether a person is Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples contribute to our national identity and to Australia’s shared history.

Who is your Mob and how to find out more

Worksheets

Teacher Worksheet

Background Information

Content information: This activity will help you to explore key aspects of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures. Exploring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives with your children will benefit both First Nations and non-Indigenous children.

For any Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in your centre, exploring their culture plays a key role in their development, identity and self-esteem, and contributes to the overall well-being of the child.

For non-Indigenous children, embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives in their early education experiences is fundamental in creating inclusive and accepting attitudes, and positive race relations. These perspectives are also about celebrating different cultures and the uniqueness of individuals. It is enriching for children to experience the different perspectives and diverse human experiences other cultures can bring to the melting pot (source).

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