Educational resources about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures
Many wonderful organisations provide quality educational resources that can be used to learn about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures.
The following collection of websites and resources is not only valuable for teachers, students and schools, but also all Australians looking to better understand and celebrate Australia's first people and rich Indigenous history.
1. Reconciliation Australia – What is Reconciliation?
Established in 2001, Reconciliation Australia inspires and enables relationships, respect and trust between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous Australians, for the benefit of all Australians. They have many great resources, including a Reconciliation Timeline, fact sheets about Sorry Day and the Mabo Decision, and resources to help celebrate National Reconciliation Week, held annually from 27 May to 3 June.
2. ABC Education – Classroom resources, mapped to the Australian Curriculum
Discover nearly 200 free resources about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and culture in this wonderful collection. Choose from videos, audio clips and footage from the ABC archives that relate to history, geography, science, English, technologies and the arts.
There are also engaging digibooks, which are awesome multimedia resources that teach students about interesting topics, such as Aboriginal agriculture, technology and ingenuity, the 1967 referendum, National Sorry Day, Dreamtime stories, Vincent Lingiari and the impacts of colonisation on Indigenous Australians.
3. Behind The News – Indigenous culture
For more than fifty years, BTN has been broadcasting news for upper primary and lower secondary students, helping them understand issues and events outside their own lives. They have a fantastic collection of resources about Indigenous culture, including Indigenous recognition, the call for a treaty, the history of the Aboriginal flag, discrimination, the apology to Australia's Indigenous peoples, Aboriginal Anzacs and much more.
4. First Languages Australia – Maintain and revive Australia's first languages
First Languages Australia is working with language centres nationally to develop a map of Australian languages that reflects the names and groupings favoured by community. Explore the map that showcases over 780 languages, watch videos, listen to people sharing their languages and use the accompanying Teachers Notes.
First Languages has also worked with each of the states and territories to compile Nintrianganyi: National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Teaching and Employment Strategy and the companion document Global lessons: Indigenous languages and multilingualism in school programs. These resources are designed to help education departments, schools and local communities understand what's needed to sustain the provision of a local language curriculum.
5. NAIDOC – Celebrate history, culture and achievements
The National Aboriginal and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) makes keys decisions about activities, such as NAIDOC Week. The NAIDOC teaching resources directly support teachers in addressing the Australian Curriculum's cross-curriculum priority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures. Check out their fabulous archive of posters dating back to 1972.
6. Healing Foundation – Learn about the Stolen Generations
Developed with Stolen Generations members, teachers, parents and curriculum writers, the Healing Foundation resources aim to promote greater understanding about an often-overlooked part of Australia’s history in a safe and age-appropriate way. The resource kit includes professional learning tools for teachers, along with suggested lesson plans that have been mapped to the Australian Curriculum (Foundation to Year 9).
7. SBS Learn – Perspectives for NAIDOC Week and beyond
Working with the National NAIDOC Committee, SBS Learn has launched resources for NAIDOC Week. The resources are relevant to a broad range of learners and topics and provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives in classrooms beyond NAIDOC Week. The resources for primary students cover English, HASS, health and physical education; the resources for secondary students cover English, history, geography, visual arts and drama.
8. Narragunnawali – Create a RAP for your school
Narragunnawali's online platform provides practical ways to introduce meaningful reconciliation initiatives in the classroom, around the school and with the community. Schools and early learning services can use the platform to develop a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), and teachers and educators can access professional learning and curriculum resources to support the implementation of reconciliation initiatives.
9. Australia's Indigenous languages – Learn, preserve, revive
Australia was once home to hundreds of languages. In the late 18th century, there were between 350 and 750 social groupings, and a similar number of languages. By the start of the 21st century, only 150 languages were spoken daily. Learn and help preserve and revive Indigenous languages with this fantastic list of classroom resources.
10. Reading Australia – Books about Indigenous themes
Reading Australia makes it easier for teachers to spread a love for Australian texts. They present many great books by Indigenous authors that celebrate Indigenous culture and history and raise awareness about the issues faced today by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Books are accompanied by teacher resources and essays. Check out their curated books lists for NAIDOC Week and Reconciliation Week.
11. Jarjums – Children's programming on National Indigenous Television (NITV)
Jarjums is the NITV programming dedicated to children. Catering to all kids – and kids at heart – they have fun and educational Indigenous and First Nations content from Australia and around the world. It includes Little J & Big Cuz, which provides a young Indigenous audience with relatable characters and offers an insight into traditional Aboriginal culture, country and language.
12. AIATSIS – Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
AIATSIS is a world-renowned research, collections and publishing organisation. They promote knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, traditions, languages and stories, past and present. Use their subject guides to find materials relating to specific topics and check out their Teachers’ notes and free resources.
13. Respect Relationships Reconciliation – Teacher education
The Respect Relationships Reconciliation (3Rs) study resources are designed to support teachers and educators in incorporating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander content in initial teacher education courses. There are three study modules: Know yourself (know your world), Know your students and Know what you teach. There also provide resources to help schools review existing units of study.
14. First Contact stories – Challenge preconceptions about Indigenous people
In SBS's First Contact series, Ray Martin takes a group of six well-known Australians with diverse, deeply intrenched preconceptions and opinions about our nation's Indigenous people on a journey into Aboriginal Australia. Take the discussion into the classroom with the First Contact classroom clips from the series and curriculum-linked activities (history, English and media arts for Years 9–12). There are also Teacher Notes you can download.
15. Guidance from Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL)
AITSL have great resources that help identify what teachers need to know and be able to do in order to teach Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, and to teach all students about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages, history and culture. These resources have been developed to help Initial Teacher Education (ITE) providers and pre-service teachers understand how to meet initial teacher education and ongoing professional learning.
16. National Museum of Australia – Objects with stories
The National Museum of Australia has free curriculum-linked classroom resources to help bring the stories behind the objects in their collection to life, for students and teachers. Learn about changes to Indigenous rights and freedoms between 1957 and 1975, Yirrkala bark petitions, the story of a nation in 12 objects and the taming the Australian desert.
17. Reconciliation Film Club – Documentaries to ignite conversation
Reconciliation Australia, NITV and SBS have proudly partnered to launch the Reconciliation Film Club, an online platform that helps you host screenings of a curated selection of Indigenous documentaries from Australia’s leading Indigenous filmmakers. The website has downloadable screening kits, discussion guides, and articles and ideas to support a successful event. Bring people together to develop a deeper understanding of Indigenous people’s perspectives and histories, ignite conversation and spark change.
18. Righting Wrongs – The 1967 referendum
On 27 May 1967, Australians voted in a referendum to change how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were referred to in the Constitution – a record 90.77 per cent of votes said YES to change the Constitution. Explore personal stories, opinions and historical recordings of what happened, what life was like for Indigenous people before the vote and how far we have come since 1967.