By Lois Peeler, Victoria. Parliament, Worawa Aborginal College
“Aboriginal Change Makers is a teaching resource for Victorian schools that presents amazing stories of political and social activity, self-determination, and empowerment, as well as the struggle for recognition in the face of another more dominant and colonising society.
The rich collection of stories included in this resource honour just some of the Aboriginal Change Makers who, through their commitment and determination, made a difference in Aboriginal society in Victoria that rippled across the country.
Their stories are told here by Aboriginal Elder and Educator Dr. Lois Peeler AM, widely known as Aunty Lois. A recognised Elder in the Aboriginal community, Aunty Lois has community or ancestral connections to many of the esteemed leaders and Change Makers who are honoured in this body of work.
The development of Aboriginal Change Makers has been based on the historical record, cultural protocols, community connections and family corpus. Whilst the authors have worked with particular texts and gathered stories and information from a number of primary and secondary sources, this resource is, in essence, the coming together of the various stories of the amazing and courageous Aboriginal leaders who have made important political and social change.
These stories and events are told to educate young Victorians about the role of Aboriginal Change Makers in the fight for equality and a more just society for all of us.” Source
Note: Readers should be aware that this webpage and the Aboriginal Change Makers resource contains culturally sensitive material, including images and voices of deceased people.
“The following summaries provide an overview of the topics and concepts covered in each of the four Aboriginal Change Maker chapters.
Chapter 1 focuses on developing students’ understanding of perspective, including their own personal perspectives and how this relates to their heritage. By reflecting on the importance of perspective, students will consider their own knowledge of Aboriginal culture and history, and further explore aspects of Aboriginal culture and history such as the impact of colonisation, the Stolen Generation, and Aboriginal ceremonies and traditions. Students will start to explore traditional Aboriginal leadership and decision making and contrast these leadership and decision-making models with those found in the Parliament of Victoria.
In Chapter 2 students will define sovereignty and terra nullius. Students will be able to explain what a Mission or Reserve was during the era of the Aborigines Protection Act (Vic) 1869. They will develop an understanding of some of the important leadership work in fighting and advocating for Aboriginal Rights, as well as explore and document some of the critical historical events that have and are continuing to contribute to the Aboriginal Rights Movements.
In Chapter 3 students will develop an understanding of the critical role of Aboriginal men and women who assumed leadership roles – the Aboriginal Change Makers. They will learn of their stories, personal qualities, and relationship to land. Students will develop an understanding of how these Change Makers were able to lead, using their voices and actions to bring about change. Students will reflect on these stories and document their significance. They will explore the process of change and how the Parliament of Victoria can be used to advocate for change.
Throughout Chapter 4 students will develop their knowledge of contemporary Change Makers and the legacy of the Change Makers who have come before. This chapter aims to develop students’ understanding of the role of contemporary Change Makers in continuing to fight, through political and social activity, for self-determination and empowerment, and it continues to explore the struggle for recognition in the face of another more dominant and colonising society.” Source
Note: Both the online and eBook versions contain the complete resource. To view the eBook version, you’ll need to use a free eBook reader, like Adobe Digital Editions or Apple’s Books app. The resources is licensed under Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Version 1.0.
Teachers may find that this video provides a useful context for the Change Maker stories, which could be used as a starting point when introducing them to students. (16:05 mins)
- First Nations Resources in the Commons Library
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Timeline of Resistance
- Podcasts About Decolonisation, First Nations Justice and Invasion Day
- Aboriginal Memoirs as Social Activism
- Aboriginal Australians
- History - Australia
- Movements_Campaigns - Indigenous Peoples_First Nations rights