Ting indigenous cu



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20 Paul Memmott, Rachael Stacy, Catherine Chambers and Catherine Keys, Violence in Indigenous Communities (Attorney Generals 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 Royal Commission to Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, First Annual Report, vol 1 (1992 93), 175.
III SOME PEDAGOGICAL CONSIDERATIONS
Improving ICC generally will require universities to deliver substantive legal content in a manner that is acceptable to the broader academy and simultaneously culturally appropriate and sensitive. The substantive content would also have to meet the standards of the law school and the profession, and arguably for best learning outcomes, complement the broader law program.

In Lizzo et als terminology, the unit should aim to improve both

hard’ learning (academic achievement) as well as ‘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 process that fosters independent learning, promotes a broader view of law and society, and encourages students to appreciate that the study of law is more than simply a means to obtaining professional credentials.

The inclusion of Indigenous teachers and students in ICC programs is likely generally to enhance the student experience, particularly if the programs are integrated into the broader curriculum. The inclusion of Indigenous participants can sometimes bring into the unit people with first-hand experiences of traumatic events such as removal from families, racism, alienation by both the law and the mainstream community and other possible adverse circumstances and situations as experienced by the individual, their family or community.

The inclusion of Indigenous participants therefore creates a concomitant obligation on institutions, and arguably extends its 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 Indigenous students and teachers in the academy come from a range of backgrounds including urban, rural and remote, bringing with them a range of experiences that when openly shared are greatly beneficial to the mainstream cohort. The concept of what a culturally safe space could mean is now discussed below.

The concept of a ‘safe cultural space’ is a critical issue, particularly if the law school would like non-Indigenous students to participate in a constructive and all-round beneficial manner with Indigenous students and teachers. The concept, as used in practice at the ANU,

24 Alf Lizzo, Keithia Wilson and Roland Simmons, ‘University Students’ Perceptions of the Learning Environment and Academic Outcomes: implications for theory and practice’ (2002) 27(1) Studies in Higher Education 27

25 M Bin-Sallik, ‘Cultural Safety: Lets Name It!’ (2003) 32 Australian Journal of

Indigenous Education 21
is best characterised by Aboriginal elder Richard Frankland, who describes a culturally safe ‘Indigenous space’ as:26
A place where you [that is, an Indigenous person] can practice your own 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 you can take what is great from every culture and build a framework of a place where you are safe and secure.
The negative indicators raised by this definition — such as 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 such as identifying, taking and appreciating what is best 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 in a class environment. This is likely to be the case even if agreement has been reached on issues such as what constitutes a celebratory aspect of culture. The desire by students to ‘celebrate culture’ or

appreciate Indigenous ways’ more broadly in the longer term is sometimes evident through their reflective postings. Students elect whether or not to post more than a mandatory minimum of these

personal reflections’ and many do so, particularly when they think that they have something particularly insightful or useful to share with the cohort. The often positive feedback they receive, sometimes almost instantaneously, reinforces the practice of sharing ideas in this safe space. Some students are, however, reluctant to participate online, and they express this in the unit feedback.

Interaction which is open and engaged with the substantive issues of the day is generally positive for the cohort, particularly for the non-Indigenous students, some of who have never knowingly met or interacted with an Indigenous person. In this context all students are exposed to a range of subjective Indigenous perspectives albeit somewhat unpredictable — together with a set of more ‘objective’ legal materials. While it is conceded that not every Indigenous person will bring a fully informed cultural perspective, the absence of Indigenous input through teachers or students can mean that mainstream students are not exposed to a range of live and engaged Indigenous perspectives, and this can diminish their learning experience.

On the other hand, it might not be possible or practical always to ensure Indigenous engagement on every topic. Alternative strategies

26 Daniel Browning, Interview with Richard J Frankland, AWAYE!, ABC Radio National, 1 June 2013

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