School is Home, Home as School: Yolngu ‘On Country’ and ‘Through Country’ Place-Based Education From Gäwa Homeland.
In the review of rural, regional and remote education in Australia, Halsey briefly reflected on the old conundrum of how traditional Indigenous culture and ‘western’ knowledge (as represented in mainstream curriculum) might be integrated in remote schooling contexts. The recommendation supplied was for ‘greater opportunity in the curriculum for learning about and valuing home and Homelands knowledge and life skills’ (Halsey, 2018, p. 32). But what are ‘homelands’ and why were they viewed as so vital by the Indigenous Elders Halsey consulted? In fact, in north-east Arnhem Land, such a (seemingly) simple recommendation rests upon a long and complex history of Indigenous negotiation with balanda (white) educational policies and practices. At the Warramiri Yolŋu homeland of Gäwa, a philosophy of education has developed to encompass a profound place-based prioritisation. Community research from Gäwa will be outlined to elucidate this localised Indigenous ‘on country’ and ‘through country’ pedagogy, and a practical demonstration of the philosophy in terms of the incorporation of a Warramiri ‘turning’ seasonal-cycle curriculum will also be briefly discussed.
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