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Students Could Soon Be Taught European Settlers 'Invaded' Australia

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Students Could Soon Be Taught European Settlers 'Invaded' Australia

Amendments to Australia's national curriculum could soon educate students about the experiences of First Nations people when the First Fleet arrived.

Many have been taught about settlers coming to Australia back in the 1700s and also about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people before colonisation.

However, the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) believes there needs to be more 'truth-telling' in what happened in the years after.

ACARA has proposed a new teaching guideline that would see children in Year 4 learn how First Nations people believed they were being invaded by European colonisers.

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The current curriculum simply states First Nations people had a strong connection to their land and place. The updated teachings will explain how the occupation and colonisation of Australia 'were experienced by First Nations Australians as an invasion that denied their occupation of, and connection to, country/place'.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Then in Year 9, students would be educated on the differing historical perspectives of Australia's history and debate terms like colonisation, settlement and invasion.

ACARA Chief Executive, David de Carvalho, said the proposed learnings would allow students in both primary and high school learn about the different ways Australia's history is perceived.

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"Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples' experiences and perspectives are part of Australia's past and present reality, but they do not invalidate other perspectives and experiences," he said in a statement, via the Sydney Morning Herald.

"'Perspectives' and 'interpretation' are core concepts in the study of history, used to identify the essential content students should learn."

Mark Rose, Chair of the indigenous advisory committee at ACARA, believes it will help kids form an understanding of how to 'face a world with multiple world views'.

He insists it's not an attempt to be 'politically correct' or to 'pander to a minority', but it's simply an avenue to explain how First Nations people believe the European arrival was an invasion.

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"Some people will find it may be controversial, but if you peel back our society, there are four faces of this nation. We have a colonial past, which is significant and should be in the curriculum," he said.

"We are part of Asia. We are one of the world's most multicultural nations. And we house the world's longest-living continuous culture. If those four faces are not represented, we are doing our kids a disservice."

The updated curriculum would also teach kids that Australia has two First Nations Peoples: Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islander people.

They will learn the former occupied Australia for more than 60,000 years, while the latter occupied their region for 4,000 years.

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Children as young as Year 4 would learn about how First Nations people suffered when colonisers took their land.

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Featured Image Credit: Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales

Topics: Australia

Stewart Perrie
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