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Kevin Lowe - Development of Language Programs | Language, Aboriginal, Communities, Indigenous, Cultural, Community, Development, Copyright | FATSILC, Fed. Aboriginal Torres Strait Island Languages and
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The Need for Community Consultation to assist in the Development of Aboriginal Language Programs in schools:  A Draft Discussion Paper

Kevin LoweKevin Lowe
Kevin Lowe is Chief Education Officer with the Aboriginal Curriculum Unit, Office of the Board of Studies NSW

In this draft discussion paper, Kevin Lowe examines a number of issues raised during the development of Aboriginal language programs in NSW schools. This is the full version of the extract that appeared in Voice of the Land, volume 20.



This document should be seen as part of an on going discussion of issues raised the development and implementation of Aboriginal language programs in NSW schools. This discussion is rooted in the considerable concerns raised by many Aboriginal communities through peak Aboriginal community bodies such as the NSW AECG Inc, FATSIL and ATSIC, over the ownership and copyright of language materials. This matter has also been acknowledged by the Department of Education and Employment (DETE) in South Australia, with the joint working party, who have developed a draft protocols document to assist the consultation processes between schools and Aboriginal communities. The concerns raised by this issue are pervasive and they must be acknowledged and addressed by all key institutions if successful partnerships are to be forged as schools and communities seek to develop language programs.

The development of language programs in schools cannot be achieved without the support and assistance of Aboriginal communities. Communities belonging to particular language nations need to be acknowledged by educational authorities as being the custodians of their language and at a minimum, must be considered as being partners in the development of programs or published materials that have been drawn from their knowledge. While the focus of this paper is the interaction between schools and communities, and how community concerns are addressed, this debate must also be seen as part of a much larger discussion around the ownership and controls that Aboriginal communities seek to reassert over their language and culture.

An inclination by those wishing to see the revival of Aboriginal languages has been to highlight the role that schools can have in enhancing community access and interest; however, as McKay (1996) noted in his report to the House of Representatives, there has been too heavy an emphasis on the role of schools in providing the foundations of language maintenance in Aboriginal communities. He argued that if the aim of a language program was to revive the language to a point that it can be spoken by members of that community and passed on between generations, then a problem arose when schools located within those communities had been given too significant a mandate to deliver both school and community programs. Strong community programs are those, which while acknowledging the role that schools can play, focus on the development of effective long term community-based language programs. ATSIC NSW, in its NSW Strategic Language Paper (Hosking 2000) clearly made the point that in the long term, effective language programs must always be under the control of the community:

Language revitalization and maintenance projects must be supported, owned and controlled by communities if they are to succeed in having long term relevance to the community for which they are designed. (Hosking et al 2000, p.19)

The community is the store from which the language originates, and it alone must provide the focus and purpose for its revitalization and use. The importance of school programs to the advancement of language revival programs, is that they can support and run parallel to community directed programs, and that they can be well placed to assist students in the attainment of broader community aspirations for language survival and cultural reassertion.
As communities and schools work towards the development of long-term programs, the issue of ownership and use of language materials becomes highly contentious among many Aboriginal communities. This debate cannot be seen in isolation or out of the context of the larger debate on the intellectual property and moral rights of Indigenous communities to their arts, culture and languages.

In part, the recent response to these issues has been a legal one, as test cases have been brought before the courts. These cases have sought to have the courts adjudicate on issues of the copyright and ownership of the unique expressions of their culture. 1 These decisions, while having assisted artists and performers protect the commercial, intellectual and cultural integrity of their works, has been found to be inadequate in respect to affording any protection of community title to their languages. This matter has caused considerable anxiety in many indigenous communities, with one impact being their diminished willingness to engage with schools and educational authorities in the development of school based programs and the associated teaching and learning resources.

This paper sets out to highlight the importance of language to Indigenous communities, and to expose the impacts that this loss has had on their spiritual, social and cultural revival. A second purpose of this paper is to explore alternative policy directions that may deliver to communities the degree of control and respect for Indigenous languages, which hitherto has not been found in legislation or administrative law.

The following sources provide a sound understanding of the complexities surrounding these issues. They outline recent legal and legislative initiatives that direct current discussion and provide advice on alternative policy advice:

  • Janke, T. (1999) Our Culture, our Future: Report on Indigenous Cultures and Intellectual Property Rights 2
  • Indigenous Arts and Copyright: A practical guide (1998)  3
  • Protecting Indigenous Intellectual Property (1999) 4
  • Protecting Indigenous and cultural property rights in Departmental contexts (1999) 5
  • Language and Culture: A matter of Survival (1992)  6
  • The Land still speaks (1996) 7



There can be little understanding of the complexity of these issues, nor of the anger that it engenders, without there being first an acknowledgment and an understanding of the impact that invasion has had on the social, cultural and economic cohesion of Aboriginal communities. These have been well documented in numerous texts 8 and they all demonstrate the active collusion between the 'settlers' and the various colonial government's policies aimed at breaking the resistance of Aboriginal people to the invasion of their land (Moses 2000). It is within this context that we should examine the loss of language, and see that the active steps undertaken to ensure that this was a part of the physical, cultural and social deprivation used in the colonisation of Aboriginal people. How better to demonstrate the totality of their subjugation, than to ensure that the colonised would be forced to speak the language of the coloniser? The language of each Indigenous community carried within them, the codes and secrets of their culture, sense of place and spiritual being and its replacement with a foreign language signalled the reality of the power relations between coloniser and the colonised. This power differential is still being played out as Standard Australian English (SAE) is pitted against that of the unique contemporary language of Aboriginal English in classrooms across Australia. (Ashcroft 1989, p.7-8) 9 One impact of this clash has been an ongoing refusal by many teachers to identify the linguistic features of Aboriginal English and to ground the development of SAE literacy skills in the real life language contexts of Aboriginal students.  10 Wherever this approach is maintained, Aboriginal students will continually fall behind in the acquisition of SAE literacy skills compared to their peers.

The application by both State and Federal Governments of policies that brought about the relocation and removal of communities to missions, along with the assimilation of 'lighter coloured' Aboriginal people into 'White' Australia, was symptomatic of attempts to extinguish the cultural and political sovereignty of the people. Commissioner Johnson, in his landmark report  11 into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, noted the consequences of such policies on the social fabric of Aboriginal communities:

  • ...Aboriginal people were never treated as equals and certainly relations between the two groups were conducted on the basis of inequality and control. (Johnson 1991 p.10)

The National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children (1996)  12 also reported on the consequences that followed the enforced removal of children from families and the consequent impact of such losses on community knowledge of their heritage. One such impact was the community's growing incapacity to maintain the uniqueness of language and with it, an inability to discuss or locate their identity or to express their thoughts in the words of the language, which was rooted in their country. 13

The extent of the impact of these policies can be seen in the courts as individuals and language nations attempt to reassert sovereignty over the land in the post Mabo land rights environments. 14 Communities have to continually struggle with the legal system to demonstrate their on going connection with the land, with one of the tests that the courts has used is whether the community still has a knowledge and use of its language.

The further legacy of this past also contains a paradox for contemporary Aboriginal communities, in that the survival of Aboriginal languages has been largely dependent on the activities of the colonial and early post colonial chroniclers, amateur linguists, and anthropologist who recorded Aboriginal languages as part of the process of exploiting, exhibiting and measuring the exotic and primitive. As part of these anthropological projects, Indigenous languages were recorded and in part, used as evidence of the primitiveness of the Indigenous world in comparison to that of the European settler. Australia proved fertile ground for the new study of anthropology, for it was seen to demonstrate the truth of the Darwinian model of an evolutionary hierarchy that placed the White man above all others. Anthropology provided a strong sense of legitimacy for the subjugation of the colonised as the Aboriginal people provided both the living fossils and skeletal remains, which could be studied and exhibited as human curiosities.  15

While the appropriation of the intellectual property of Aboriginal people began with these early jottings, it became much more sophisticated when missionaries began the task of Christianising the apparently aimless descendants of the Indigenous population . 16 Many examples can be found of the complicity of the Christian missionaries, who became agents of government policies to disenfranchise the Indigenous population of their cultural and spiritual heritage and to supplant it with the religion of the colonisers. Kidd (1997)  17 , Pearson (1998) and Attwood (1986) 18 amongst others have written about the role of the missionaries and their part in furthering the dispossession of Aboriginal people from both their physical and spiritual worlds. A critical tool that aided this process was the bible, especially in those communities in which language was still being used, for its translation provided the missionaries with leverage over the now weakened communities for whom they were asked to administer. The appropriation of language had become a sinister tool with which to use against its owners in the fight to civilise and to possess the hearts and minds of the colonised. The irony for Aboriginal communities is that these very same people who sought to distance their' charges' from the excesses of colonial exploitation, were themselves part of the spiritual destruction of Aboriginal communities.


Language and identity

Language revival has become an important issue for many communities as they struggled to reassert those elements of their cultural heritage that can be pieced together from documents and records salvaged from the repositories of past anthropological endeavours.

The euphoric post Mabo environment in which Indigenous peoples believed that genuine Native Title would be granted has not lasted; and dreams of being able to reassert an even blighted sovereignty over ancestral lands was not to be realised. Although there has been recognition a of Native Title in some areas of Australia in the wake of the Mabo and Wik decisions, the reality for urban and regional communities is that, these decisions have had little or no impact on their capacity to make Native Title claims. Though the absurdity of Terra Nullius has been finally exposed to be the legal fraud that it was, there was never any likelihood that the States would ever had relinquish their sovereignty over the land, for title to it is central to the legal legitimacy of government. While Mabo overturned the concept of Terra Nullius it only allowed for a complementary Native Title under the strictest of tests and under the umbrella of the Crown's sovereignty and pre eminence over all land within Australia (Bartlett 1999, p412).  19 The realization that little would change has forced Aboriginal people to refocus on those elements which that set them apart from others and that are manifestations of separate identities and over which they have control. In this context, the revival of language has taken on a special place for Aboriginal people as it acts as a marker by which they can set out to redefine their sense of place and belonging in these new contemporary but still hostile environments. By the very same processes that saw the development of postcolonial literatures, the unprecedented creative energy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples has developed out of the inexorable marginalisation of their culture and experiences by the colonial invaders. The resurgence of the arts has been in response to their denial and as an act of resistance which aims to position Indigenous people in a different but shared space in this country.  20

The importance of language in providing a critical focus for Aboriginal people was recognised by the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (1991), which in its report recommended:

  • ...that Government and funding bodies reflect the importance of the national Aboriginal Language Policy in the provision of funds to Aboriginal communities and organisations. (Johnson 1991 p.43)

The 1996 Bringing them home report by HREOC also recommended that:

  • That the Commonwealth expand the funding of Indigenous language, cultural and history centres to ensure national coverage at regional levels.......these programs be funded to teach languages especially to people whose forcible removal derived them of opportunities to learn and maintain their language and to their descendants. (HREOC 1997 p.653)

Both of these reports recognised the importance of language to the revival and maintenance of cultural identity, the impact that it could have on the developing of strong senses of self esteem and self worth and the reconciliatory role that it would have for those communities that had had that sense of belonging eroded by the policies of removal and language denial.

What both these reports acknowledged was the uniqueness of language in providing a vehicle for the explicit expression of the cultural sovereignty of people. Implicitly, languages provide an expression of the wholeness of the people, sanctioning feelings of belonging to both place and family and having the capacity to connect people to the centrality of their being. This rhetoric, which vocalises the critical importance of language for all communities, also carries a warning in so far as their capacity to delivery language programs decreases daily as the number of language speakers diminishes. This in turn impacts on the delivery of programs due to reduced number of people who have appropriate language knowledge (McKay 1996 p.4).

A consequence of this loss of language speakers has led to an increasing reliance on non-Aboriginal linguists to assist in the revival and maintenance of language programs. While these linguists have contributed sometimes-invaluable assistance and documentation to many language programs, (McKay 1996 p.xxvii) they have also been seen to stand between Aboriginal ownership and control of language programs and their actual reclamation. The playing out of this often fractious relationship has been at the root cause of considerable anger and disquiet amongst Aboriginal communities, as they have felt that they have been held to ransom by the institutions and individuals who are seen to act as gatekeepers, and proprietorial owners of a nations language and thoughts. In this phase of language revival, there is the prospect of non-Aboriginal linguists not only instructing communities on the revival of language, but also rooting that instruction in the sacred and secret cultural forms that are central to the identity of those people. Without care, this could be seen as a contemporary variation of the appropriation of Indigenous peoples' life forces exerted by the colonial anthropologists over Indigenous communities throughout Australia.


Ownership of language

Feelings of exasperation felt by Indigenous communities over the protection and ownership of their language, have been exacerbated by a legal system that has failed to understand or conceptualise that a people do not have sovereign ownership over it. The sheer pervasiveness of the colonising language limits the dominant culture's capacity to neither understand nor indeed make space for the unique linguistic manifestations of the colonised. Instead of being spoken, communities have instead had to locate and negotiate access to their language found in the vaults of libraries and museums. Issues continue to be raised by communities over the legal entitlements that people have over their language, and the means they have in asserting and protecting the inalienable rights of their own cultural and spiritual icons. Questions implicit to this are, how is the issue of the intellectual property rights of Indigenous communities being dealt with and how can they assert control over access, copyright and ownership of the sacred cultural manifestations of their knowledge?

The paradox for communities is that while the actual material expressions of their cultural spirituality are protected by the law of copyright, there is no such protection of the language that provides the unique linguistic vehicle through which these icons of identity can be explored, discussed and inherited across generations. Language is an integral part of the relational positioning of the people in and between the physical, spiritual and intellectual worlds in which they live. Thus any impediment which acts to restrict the access to it is a stark reminder for communities that their place in this country is one which is constructed around the continual denial of the means to articulate the essence of their being in their own language, and a reminder of the loss of their intellectual sovereignty by having to use the language of their persecutors.  21

The revival to languages has become an emerging marker of cultural, social and political difference.  22 The increased interest in the revival of language has framed a critical point of tension between the inexorable pressure of a dominant western orientated 'Australian' culture that attempts to expunge Aboriginal senses of difference, and a growing demand for an identifiable, and separate Indigenous presence in this country. Attempts to forge explicit cultural, racial and political identities outside the acceptable national framework are viewed with concern by many in the mainstream as being socially divisive and at odds with policies which have sought to dissipate difference through the assimilation of other cultures into the contemporary multicultural framework in Australia (Stratton 1998).

While the discourse of multiculturalism privileges a concept of cultural diversity, it has not yet come to terms with the very different aspirations of those Indigenous communities, who seek to assert their unique place in the social, political and cultural landscape of Australia. Other Indigenous commentators such as Linda Tuhiwai Smith (1999) see this growing contestation between the institutions and their policies which underpin the state and Indigenous peoples, as being part of the post-colonial experience where Indigenous peoples set about to assert their own identity by reclaiming those elements of their lives that they see as being central to their understanding of themselves. The early phases of this contested space are marked by increased levels of resentment to both present policies and past practices, and further, that the levels of resistance will remain heightened until indigenous communities are able to articulate sense of belonging in their own country. In this climate, the desire to revive language is a political act, and as such an expression of authentic Indigenous agency in the development of the self-assertion of an identity fashioned by themselves and over which they will have control.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island communities have continued to object to the controls exerted over their language by non-Indigenous people, institutions and corporations. There are numerous examples where words and symbols have been appropriated and used as part of the exclusive trademarks of company names and logos. Indeed some have entered into the iconography of the Australian commercial landscape and have become unredeemable to their Aboriginal owners as far as being able to reassert copyright claims over them. However the appropriation of these cultural and sacred images should not be confused as being part of some inclusive multicultural discourse, but rather an exemplification of the cultural subjugation of an invaded people.

While the ownership of Aboriginal languages is not located in any group or custodian, a critical problem exists in the scarcity of community members who have any substantial language knowledge. Communities are at present very reliant on a decreasing number of people who are in a position to provide language instruction. The consequence of such a precarious position is that while communities have an interest in the controls and ownership of the language, essentially it is vested in the few remaining language speakers, who may not be, in some cases, of Aboriginal descent. This issue can only be addressed by either further denying access to the language or developing programs, which lift the number of speakers to a critical mass so as to ensure the survival of the language.


Issues of Copyright

An issue of major concern in many communities has been the apparent legal transfer of copyright from members of the community, to non-Aboriginal individuals or institutions. Beyond the case of the direct appropriation of language, there have many more subtle 'collaborative' enterprises that had the unintended consequence of unwittingly transferring their copyright ownership to the crown, universities and/or individual researchers. In such cases, the law of copyright has proven to be an effective tool in assisting in the seizure of language from its Indigenous owners by these institutions who often claims to be working in their interests. As Janke notes, conflicts do not arise from the ownership of the language itself, but in the transfer of ownership that comes with the publication of language materials:

  • While copyright exists in literary works, there is no copyright in languages, unless they are expressed in material form, that is, written down or recorded. Indigenous languages themselves are not protected by copyright, but expressions and compilations of Indigenous languages, such as dictionaries and word lists, are eligible for protection. (Janke 1999 p.60)

The fact that there is no copyright protection for Indigenous people's secret or sacred material critically impacts on the control of language and other intimate cultural expressions of a community. It is the loss of control and ownership of the language and its appropriation by another foreign and invading culture, that is the cause of so much disquiet amongst the wider Aboriginal community. Without protective legislation, communities are forced to seek redress through other avenues. As Janke further notes:

  • There is a need to differentiate between the rights over the language per se and the rights to specific materials written in language. The people affiliated with the language should be regarded as the owners of the language.... As such they should be consulted in matters related to the language. (Janke 1999 p.61)

The fact that often not even the most cursory of attempts have been made to consult communities, has made them suspicious of the motives of those who seek to work with them in the development of programs. Trust, which can be so easily damaged, must be developed between all the key stakeholders prior to programs moving forward. Before a balance can an be been achieved between the competing needs and interests of Aboriginal communities, educational institutions and others interested in the development of programs, there must be an unambiguous understanding of the communities' unequivocal title to their language. The interactions between communities and educational providers around these issues must be based on a combination of legal protections and mutually acceptable and respected protocols. Both Janke and the Australian Copyright Council suggest various processes that would assist in the development of these comprehensive frameworks to protect the cultural, artistic and linguistic heritage of Indigenous Australians.


Developing a language protocols framework

The limited coverage afforded by the Copyright law, and the complexity of these legal protections for the cultural manifestations of Aboriginal communities, such as arts and music, focuses attention on the need for the development of tightly constructed consultation procedures and protocols. These would set out the ground rules for the on going interactions between all parties. The need to develop such a framework is highlighted when one considers the day-to-day interactions between communities and institutions such as schools. These negotiations are held well away from the gaze of lawyers, and often occur in ignorance of both the law and appropriate process. Often it is only after the event that more considered discussion highlights the anxieties that should have been acknowledged and dealt with at an earlier stage.

The purpose of such a protocols document would be to lay out the ground rules that would situate the various roles and responsibilities of the all key stakeholders and that would outline the processes sanctioned by all parties to assist in the collaborative development of policies, programs, and resources. The framework should articulate a clear rationale that would underpin this process, as well as providing clear advice on appropriate consultation processes.

The following are a summary of the substantive issues raised in discussions with communities and which need to be addressed within a protocols document. The points raised should be seen as representing common anxieties and concerns of communities vis a vis the development of language programs in school education systems.  23


Issues of Concern

  • The appropriation of Aboriginal language for personal and/or commercial gain.
  • That in the development of syllabuses and curriculum resources, there may be processes which privileges some languages above others. This has had the effect of enhancing the view that other Aboriginal languages are no longer in existence or are not as important or significant.
  • That in the process of revitalising languages, the linguistic practice of amalgamating separate languages or dialects into a single language program, (unless sanctioned by all the various communities) can have the serious impact of calling into question the language's legitimacy and authenticity.
  • That the current policy of all government's in asserting crown copyright over all teaching and learning materials produced in Government schools, may place them in potential conflict with communities or individuals when they collaboratively develop them.
  • That in asserting institutional copyright ownership over such material, the moral and intellectual property rights of the Indigenous contributor/s have often not been acknowledged.
  • That the community is often ignored in the selection of the person/s seen as the most appropriate within that community to contribute language knowledge.
  • Those communities are often not being provided with the opportunity to validate or veto information provided by individuals. Educational institutions must acknowledge there are multiple layers of custodianship within communities and that each must be consulted before consensus can be achieved.
  • That the language needs of communities have often been ignored by non-Indigenous language researchers who often have a different agenda to those of the community from which the language comes.
  • That language work submitted by students must fall within the ambit of these protocols.
  • Indigenous education workers, who assist in the development of specific cultural resources, are often placed in an invidious position when they 'share' their knowledge. One consequence of this sharing, has been the transfer of both knowledge and of copyright to the employer as a consequence of the subsequent development and publication of materials.

The issues listed above do not purport to be exhaustive, but reflect the degree to which Indigenous communities perceive present legal failings and their sense of impotence in asserting controls over their language. Current Government policy efforts being made to engage Aboriginal communities in programs to improve student outcomes will only occur when appropriate consultative processes are put in place. Consultations, which flow from dealing with these issues, must demonstrate in real and tangible ways the importance of Aboriginal communities in both the development of positive student aspirations and increased cultural capital through community developed language and cultural programs.

The development of a Community Consultation and Protocols document that meets the needs of all parties and assists in delivering effective language programs and resources to institutions such as schools, will need to be carefully crafted if it is to address the issues of concern. However it is possible to complete such a task as long as those who oversee its implementation, do so with the intention of empowering community participation in real educational decision-making. The purpose of this document will be not only to assist schools to meet the concerns of communities, but also to highlight the school systems bona-fides in delivering true collaborative partnerships. The document should exemplify best practice in regards to the consultation process and talk to communities about what they can expect as curriculum and pedagogic issues are discussed and policies and practices developed. The capacity for the document to provide such a two-way dialogue will be an important test of its integrity and a measure of its success.




1 Indigenous Arts and Copyright (1998) and Janke, T (1999) Both texts note the various test cases which have mapped the present degree of protections afforded by the various protective legislations.

2 prepared for the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) by Michael Frankel and Co. and Terri Janke (1999)

3 Australian Copyright Council (1998)

4 Australian Copyright Council (1999)

5 Unpublished material provided by Greg Wilson from DETE South Australia

6 Language and Culture - A Matter of Survival. House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs (1992)

7 The Land still speaks: review of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Language maintenance and Development needs and activities. Commissioned Report No. 44 Dr Graham McKay (1996)

8 See historians such as Reynolds, Attwood, Goodall, or Government reports such as the report from Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody or "Bringing them home" HREOC

9 Ashcroft, B, Griffiths, G and Tiffin, H (1989) The empire writes back: Theory and practice in post-colonial literatures Routledge London

10 Munns, G et al (2000) Aboriginal Literacy Research Project: Report to the NSW Board of Studies Aboriginal Learners and English 7-10. Unpublished report for Review of Years 7-10 English Syllabus

11 Best summarised in the Overview into the Report of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (1991)

12 Bringing them Home. Report on the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children (1996) HREOC

13 There are numerous summaries attempting to quantify the degree of language loss. Hosking et al (2000 p. 15-17) provides a brief but useful summary of the major issues, but also questions the assertions made by Schmidt (1990) on the degrees of loss suffered by communities, and whether languages could be said to be 'extinct of dead'. This proposition generated considerable disquiet among many Aboriginal communities who saw the connection between this assertion and the underlying impacts that this view would have on their own cultural revival.

14 See decision on the Yorta Yorta land claim in 1999. A good summary of the judgement can be located in the Koori Mail.

15 Captive Lives: Looking from Tambo and his companions (1997) National Library of Australia

16 Pearson, Noel "Guugu Yimidhirr History: Hope Vale Lutheran Mission (1900 - 1950)", in Maps and Dreaming (1998) J Kociumbas (ed.) Sydney Studies in History No.8, Department of History, Sydney University

17 Kidd, R (1997) The way we civilise: Aboriginal affairs - the untold story (Chapter 3) UQP Brisbane

18 Attwood, Bain (1986) The making of the Aborigines Allen & Unwin Sydney

19 Note the work of Behrendt, L (2000) The protection of Indigenous Rights: Contemporary Canadian comparisons Information and Research Services Canberra

20 Ashcroft, B et al (1989) The Empire Writes Back: Theory and Practice in post-colonial literatures Routledge London. See discussion of the development of a post-colonial theory of authentic cultures in the old empire.

21 See the discussion in Smith (1999) Decolonising Methodologies pp.36 - 37. Smith writes of the importance for Indigenous people to be able to reassert language ownership and use their own languages in writing abut themselves and their pre- and post-colonial experiences. She notes the irony for Indigenous people having to use the language of the coloniser when discussing the consequences of colonisation.

22 Note recent comments by Tony Mundine concerning his sense of cultural deprivation as a consequence of his inability to speak the language of his father's people. He saw this as defining moment in his own personal struggle to assert a sense of difference in being an Aboriginal man.

23 It should be acknowledged that much of the following comes from the excellent work of the South Australia DETE Standing Committee on "Protecting Indigenous Intellectual and Cultural Property Rights in Departmental Contexts" (1998) provided to the author by its Exec Officer Greg Wilson.



Attwood B (1989) The making of the Aborigines Allen & Unwin Sydney

Ashcroft, B et al (1989) The Empire Writes Back: Theory and Practice in post-colonial literatures Routledge London

Bartlett, Richard H. (1999) Native Title in Australia, in Indigenous people's Rights in Australia, Canada and New Zealand Paul Havermann (ed.) Oxford University Press

Behrendt, L (2000) The protection of Indigenous Rights: Contemporary Canadian comparisons Information and Research Services Canberra

Bringing them Home. Report on the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children (1996). Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Canberra

Captive Lives: Looking from Tambo and his companions (1997) National Library of Australia

Community Consultation and Protocols (2001) Draft Paper, NSW Office of the Board of Studies Aboriginal Curriculum Unit

DETE SA Standing Committee on "Protecting Indigenous Intellectual and Cultural Property Rights in Departmental Contexts" (1998) provided to the author by its Exec Officer Greg Wilson

Indigenous Arts and Copyright: A practical guide (1999) Australian Copyright Council, Redfern Sydney

Janke, T (1998) Protecting Indigenous Intellectual Property: Report on Australian Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property Rights (written by Terri Janke for Michael Frankel and Co for the Australian Institute of Torres Strait Islander Studies and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission)

Kidd, Rosalind (1997)The way we civilise: Aboriginal affairs - the untold story Chapter 3 UQP Brisbane

Language and Culture: A matter of Survival (1992) NSW Board of Studies. Sydney

McConaghy, Cathryn (2000) Rethinking Indigenous Education Post Pressed Flaxton Qld.

McKay G The Land still speaks: Review of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Language Maintenance and Development needs and activities. Australia Government Publishing Service Canberra

Munns, G et al (2000) Aboriginal Literacy Research Project: Report to the NSW Board of Studies Aboriginal Learners and English 7-10. Unpublished report for Review of Years 7-10 English Syllabus

Our Culture, our Future: Report on Indigenous Cultures and Intellectual Property Rights (1999)

Pearson, Noel (1998) "Guugu Yimidhirr History: Hope Vale Lutheran Mission (1900 - 1950)", in Maps and Dreaming J Kociumbas (ed.) Sydney Studies in History No.8, Department of History, Sydney University

Protecting Indigenous Intellectual Property: A discussion paper Australian Copyright Council B94v2 Redfern Sydney.

Protecting Indigenous and cultural property rights in Departmental contexts (1999) Drawn from the full paper tabled at the 4th meeting of the Aboriginal Languages Standing Committee, endorsed by its members and subsequently modified on advice from P. Eldridge, Managing Solicitor, DETE (24.10.00)

The Report of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (1991) Australian Government Publishing Service Canberra

Reynolds H (1996) Aboriginal Sovereignty: Three Nations, One Australia Allen and Unwin Sydney

Smith, Linda Tuhiwai (1999) Decolonising Methodologies: Research and Indigenous peoples Zed Books London

Stratton, Jon (1998) Race Daze: Australia in identity crisis Pluto Press Sydney