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Hillard, C 2011, 'Living roots, rebuilding trunks and forming new branches : how has exposure to the western education system influenced Aboriginal identity for people in the Bundjalung and Yirrkala region', MA thesis, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW.

Copyright C Hillard 2011


The focus of my research is how exposure to Western education has influenced Aboriginal identity for people in the Bundjalung and Yirrkala regions. As an Aboriginal woman who has been influenced and impacted on by the current education system, I deeply understand the need for exploring issues that will promote the self-determination and the cultural maintenance of Aboriginal communities.

For this study, a central theme is education. Therefore, it is important to examine the word, ‘education’, its history and the implications of engaging in the mainstream education systems. The current educational systems in Australia are based on the euro-centric versions of history where Western thought and systems are the centre and where thousands of years of Aboriginal culture and knowledge are discounted as non-progressive and therefore not relevant or useful to the mainstream culture.

Aboriginal peoples are not resisting acculturation but are resisting the policies and institutions that promote segregation, marginalisation and Aboriginal peoples' perceived inability to self determine their own lives and communities. Aboriginal peoples are interested in cross cultural education that provides new intercultural educational spaces and shared meanings and learning.