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Meeting Country and Self to Initiate an Embodiment of Knowledge: Embedding a Process for Aboriginal Perspectives

Anthony McKnight

2016 Australia

Social justice is often the primary framework that directs academics to embed Aboriginal perspectives into teacher education programmes. The effectiveness and limitations of social justice as a catalyst and change agent was examined when six school of education academics from an Australian regional university were introduced to Yuin Country as knowledge holder. This paper argues that social justice in Australian education systems can contribute to the colonial control of knowledge production. At the same time, however, social justice may provide a means for non-Aboriginal people to experience Aboriginal ways of knowing and thereby to diversify their thinking. A cultural experience with Yuin Country played a central role in connecting and separating social justice to provide a balance in relatedness, disrupting the colonial emphasis of Western binary thinking that only separates. The academics shared their ideas and feelings in relation to Aboriginal people and culture before, during and after the cultural experience Mingadhuga Mingayung (McKnight, 2015) of two significant Yuin Mountains on the far south coast of New South Wales. The research described in this paper explored the academics’ journey with Country to investigate the role of social justice thinking to unveil and or conceal Aboriginal perspectives as Country.

Yuin Country, Aboriginal perspectives, teacher education, social justice, Aboriginal knowledge, reculturalisation