Aunt Phyllis Marsh says one of the best things about teaching First Nations culture to students is seeing their reactions of wonder and awe.
“I am always blown away by the students’ commitment to the way I present the situation to them,” she said.
She has seen significant changes in children’s cultural understanding and their ability to appreciate different lifestyles.
“I am seeing a transformation in the way students in our school connect with ancient wisdom. I know this approach works. We go to the country to listen to how the land speaks to us, ”she said.
Ms. Marsh has worked for the past three years as a First Nations Cultural Educator at West Moreton Anglican College in South East Queensland and is part of the new Know Your Country campaign. Led by First Nations people and organizations and convened by World Vision, the campaign calls on all levels of government to donate $ 363 million per year to hire a First Nations cultural educator in each of the country’s 6,249 elementary schools.
World Vision First Nations Policy Advisor Dr Scott Winch said while some schools already have First Nations educators, a national program would help tackle racism, develop teachers, foster true reconciliation and to bridge the knowledge gap about Indigenous history.
“This campaign could transform the way Australians understand each other and their relationship to this land and the world’s oldest living culture,” he said.
Know Your Country research revealed a gap in Australians’ basic knowledge of First Nations culture and heritage, with 60% of Australians surveyed not knowing the name of the country they live in, and more than half not knowing. not how long Australia had been inhabited before. the arrival of James Cook.
The nationally representative poll of 1,047 people showed that 70 percent of respondents aged 18 to 24 wished they had better First Nations education when they were in school.