Truth-telling to commence with the University of Newcastle

Truth-telling is a significant part of the journey towards reconciliation and is a key commitment in the department’s Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan.

Image: Reconciliation Action Plan artwork

In September 2023, the Purai Global Indigenous History Centre at the University of Newcastle commenced work with the department to undertake formal truth-telling research into the department’s history of education for Aboriginal communities across the NSW.

An external provider was identified as the appropriate option to ensure an objective and impartial approach to this work. The University of Newcastle offers subject-matter expertise and culturally-responsive research practices and methodologies.

The partnership with the Centre will help us take a critical look at what the department has done in the past, and what needs to be done now and into the future to advance reconciliation and build meaningful connections with Aboriginal communities across NSW.

Over 12 months the Centre will conduct archival research and visit communities to capture the experience of Aboriginal parents and students through oral history interviews and yarning circles.

Luke Allan, Senior Project Officer in the department’s Reconciliation Action Plan team, explains that this research will help create a shared understanding of the policies and practices that we know were harmful and unjust to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The research will also acknowledge strength, resilience, and achievements of Aboriginal people in the face of adversity.

“It's an opportunity to draw the line in the sand and commit to a better future where Aboriginal people are seen as equal partners and have agency in the systemic shifts that need to occur to ensure equality and equity in educational outcomes for our kids,” said Luke.

Read more about department’s commitment to truth telling and the role we can all play in creating a culturally-safe education system via the Innovate RAP.

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