From the centre to the city: Aboriginal education, culture by Kevin Keeffe

By Kevin Keeffe

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Extra resources for From the centre to the city: Aboriginal education, culture and power

Example text

Especially significant is the powerful example of a small group of people who have been dispossessed, impoverished and denied their fundamental rights to an education. Despite this history, they have retained a sense of their own educational destiny, are recovering their own cultural, social and political futures and seek to assist others to do likewise. They are people who have been cut back, but who are growing back even stronger. All of these are directions to address significant mainstream education issues and to inspire cultural and political action inside and outside schools.

From an educational perspective, the pre-contact period, which ended for most Pintupi in the 1960s, but for some as late as 1985, was the only period in which education was correctly assumed to be based on principles of universal access, equal opportunities and ensured successful outcomes through an appropriate curriculum. However, the central panel has a contemporary dimension as well as a historical one, hence the use of present tense in the text. The panel refers to both the time before walypala presence, and contemporary knowledge and understanding about land, language and culture.

Pintupi, like other Australian languages, is characteristically polysemous: any term is likely to have many meanings, determined by context and levels of knowledge. As a result, the title of the painting can also be interpreted as 'to hold (grasp) our earth (dirt, ground, land) firmly (strongly, powerfully)'. Further, the image of holding earth forcefully in the hands is intended to convey a larger message about holding on, especially through education, to that which comes from the land. In an Aboriginal view, this includes law, language and culture.

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