20 PaulMemmott,RachaelStacy,CatherineChambersandCatherineKeys,Violence in Indigenous Communities (Attorney General’s Department (Cth) 2001), 87.
21 Ibid, 26, 29, 96.
22 Ibid, 97.
23 Royal Commission Government Response Monitoring Unit, Implementation of the Commonwealth Government Responses to the Recommendations of the RoyalCommissiontoAboriginalDeathsinCustody,First AnnualReport,vol1 (1992 93), 175. IIISOMEPEDAGOGICALCONSIDERATIONS Improving ICC generally will require universities to deliver substantivelegalcontentinamannerthatisacceptabletothebroader academy and simultaneously culturally appropriate and sensitive. Thesubstantivecontentwouldalsohavetomeetthestandardsof the lawschool andthe profession,andarguably forbest learning outcomes, complement the broader law program.
‘hard’learning(academicachievement)aswellas‘soft’learning (satisfactory development of key skill) outcomes that are, in this context, suitable for the profession.24 In many instances, subjects on Indigenous Peoples and the Law appear as later-year law electives, enabling teachers to build upon previously acquired knowledge and skills in a scaffolding processthat fostersindependent learning, promotesabroaderviewoflawandsociety,andencouragesstudents to appreciate that the study of law is more than simply a means to obtaining professional credentials.
TheinclusionofIndigenousteachersandstudentsinICCprograms is likely generally to enhance the student experience, particularly if theprogramsareintegratedintothebroadercurriculum.Theinclusion of Indigenous participants can sometimes bring into the unit people with first-hand experiences of traumatic events such as removal fromfamilies,racism,alienationbyboththelawandthemainstream community and other possible adverse circumstances and situations as experienced by the individual, their family or community.
TheinclusionofIndigenousparticipants thereforecreatesa concomitant obligationoninstitutions,andarguablyextendsits normal duty of care, to create culturally safe environments for Indigenous students — an issue which has not, according to Bin- Sallik, received adequate recognition.25 Indigenousstudentsand teachersintheacademycomefromarangeofbackgroundsincluding urban, rural and remote, bringing with them a range of experiences that when openly shared are greatly beneficial to the mainstream cohort. Theconceptofwhataculturallysafespacecouldmeanis now discussed below.
Theconceptofa‘safeculturalspace’isacriticalissue,particularly if the law school would like non-Indigenous students to participate in a constructive and all-round beneficial manner with Indigenous studentsandteachers.Theconcept,asusedinpracticeattheANU,
24 AlfLizzo,KeithiaWilsonandRolandSimmons,‘UniversityStudents’Perceptions oftheLearningEnvironmentand AcademicOutcomes:implicationsfortheory and practice’(2002) 27(1) Studies in Higher Education 27
Indigenous Education 21 isbestcharacterisedbyAboriginalelderRichardFrankland,who describes a culturally safe ‘Indigenous space’as:26 Aplacewhereyou[thatis,anIndigenousperson]canpracticeyourown culture without fear of being ridiculed or being put down or bullied or harassed about it; where it is celebrated; where there is an exchange of ideas and cultures; it is a meeting place of cultures; it is a place where youcantakewhatisgreatfromeverycultureandbuildaframeworkofa place where you are safe and secure. The negative indicators raised bythis definition —suchas establishing protocols for preventing ridicule, harassment or put-downs in class — are relatively easy to name and address, particularly through negotiation and mutual agreement. Moving beyond merely addressing the negative elements, and on to issues suchasidentifying, taking and appreciating what isbest from each culture and celebrating such cultural aspects, in addition to being quite subjective, are a bit more difficult to achieve in a short time or inaclassenvironment.Thisislikelytobethecaseevenifagreement has been reached on issues such as what constitutes a celebratory aspectofculture.Thedesirebystudentsto‘celebrateculture’or
‘appreciateIndigenousways’morebroadlyinthelongertermis sometimes evident through their reflective postings. Students elect whetherornottopostmorethanamandatoryminimumofthese
‘personalreflections’andmanydoso,particularlywhentheythink that they have something particularly insightful or useful to share withthecohort.Theoftenpositivefeedbacktheyreceive,sometimes almostinstantaneously,reinforcesthepractice ofsharingideasin this safe space. Some students are, however, reluctant to participate online, and they express this in the unit feedback.
Interactionwhichisopenandengagedwiththesubstantiveissues of the day is generally positive for the cohort, particularly for the non-Indigenousstudents,someofwhohaveneverknowinglymetor interactedwithanIndigenousperson.Inthiscontextallstudentsare exposedtoarangeofsubjective Indigenousperspectives—albeit somewhat unpredictable — together with a set of more ‘objective’ legalmaterials. WhileitisconcededthatnoteveryIndigenous personwillbringafullyinformedcultural perspective, theabsence of Indigenous input through teachers or students can mean that mainstream students are not exposed to a range oflive and engaged Indigenous perspectives, and this can diminish their learning experience.