Little Red Yellow Black Book Teacher Resources

The LIttle Red Yellow Black Book cover

The Little Red Yellow Black Book provides an introduction to the rich cultures and histories of Australia’s First Peoples. Acknowledging the unique place of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Australians, AIATSIS has developed this teaching resource to assist secondary educators to implement and embed the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cross-curriculum priority into their planning, teaching and assessment. The resources will build on teachers’ intercultural understanding and support their professional knowledge and proficiency articulated in the Focus Areas 1.4 and 2.4 of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers.

Each resource includes links to the national curriculum and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures organising ideas. They cover a range of subjects and include activities, worksheets and suggestions on assessment, with step-by-step instructions on how to deliver the lesson. The lessons may be used as one-off lessons or can be considered as units of work covering a number of lessons. We acknowledge that lessons are dynamic and we welcome feedback on how these resources can be improved.

Please read the guidance notes before accessing these resources. The guidance notes provide general advice to teachers when embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures in their teaching. Different Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities will have different protocols. Teachers are strongly encouraged to seek advice from local Traditional Owners, Elders and community members, and draw on local contexts where possible.

AIATSIS acknowledges the work of Ally Chumley in the development of these resources.

These guidance notes have been developed to provide educators with general advice when embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures in their teaching. They are by no means exhaustive or reflective of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples or groups. Teachers are strongly encouraged to seek advice from local Traditional Owners, Elders and community members. Different communities will have different protocols which must be followed.

  • There is not one Aboriginal culture or one Torres Strait Islander culture. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australia is made up of many varied and distinct cultures. These cultures are the oldest surviving cultures in the world and continue to be expressed in contemporary ways.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples live and continue to express culture in urban, regional and remote contexts. Avoid using the past tense when describing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural practices.
  • There is diversity between and within communities. Generalising or extrapolating from one view to represent all can cause harm. Recognise that an individual from one area cannot speak on behalf of people from another area.
  • People identify in different ways. Some people prefer to be known by the nation they come, for example a Gurindji Man or a Gubbi Gubbi woman, some people may refer to themselves as ‘saltwater people’ if they live on the coast, or if they’re from New South Wales they might refer to themselves as Kooris, or Koories if from Victoria. It’s always best to ask people how they wish to be identified.
  • When drawing on local contexts always seek advice from local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, communities and organisations. Note that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations have a lot of demands on their time and may have different priorities to your own. Recognise that access to knowledge may need to be paid for.
  • Always seek the advice of local Traditional Owners when visiting sites. Note that some Aboriginal sites are secret and sacred and protected by law. Please be aware that some information is secret and sacred and cannot be shared.
  • Acknowledge and respect Indigenous Cultural Intellectual Property (ICIP) rights. ICIP refers to all aspects of Indigenous peoples’ cultural heritage including the tangible and intangible and includes all forms of cultural expressions including dance, music, art, and stories. ICIP rights acknowledge that Indigenous peoples have the right to protect, maintain and control the use of their tangible and intangible heritage including traditional knowledge and cultural expressions. Always seek the express permission of knowledge holders and custodians when reproducing material.
  • Understand the difference between cultural appropriation, cultural assimilation and cultural appreciation. Cultural appropriation is the reproduction of elements of a minority culture by a dominant culture that is often done without the appropriate knowledge or cultural authority to do so. An example of cultural appropriation is the manufacture of Australian Aboriginal cultural objects by non-Indigenous peoples. Cultural assimilation is when a minority culture incorporates parts of a dominant culture to be able to live in a society. Cultural appreciation is incorporating elements of a minority culture in a way that respects and values the culture from which it originates.
  • Recognise that the effects of colonisation and past government policies continue to have a significant impact on many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Ensure that there are appropriate protocols in place when dealing with sensitive or traumatic issues such as the Stolen Generations.
  • Showing images or speaking the name of someone who has passed may cause distress for some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
  • Understand the significance of, and the difference between an Acknowledgment of Country and a Welcome to Country. It’s important that that those who are on the traditional lands of Australia’s First Peoples are right-minded and cleansed. Welcome to Country rituals go back to when visitors had to wait to be welcomed into a camp or ceremony – sometimes left sitting outside the camp for days until people were ready for them and sure they would not bring harm. Welcomes can only be given by the traditional custodians of that Country, or those who are given permission by the Traditional Owners to do so. Acknowledging when you’re on the land of Traditional Owners is a sign of respect which acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ownership and custodianship of the land, their ancestors and traditions. Both Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples can show this form of respect.

The Little Red Yellow Black Book is a perfect starting point for those who want to learn about the rich cultures and histories of Australia’s First Peoples. Written from an Indigenous perspective, this highly illustrated and accessible introduction covers a range of topics from history, culture and the Arts, through to activism and reconciliation.

In this fourth edition, readers will learn about significant contributions that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have made, and continue to make, to the Australian nation. Common stereotypes will be challenged, and the many struggles and triumphs experienced through our shared histories are revealed. Readers will also learn about some of the key concepts that underpin Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander worldviews including concepts such as the Dreaming, and the significance of Ancestral Heroes and Country.

The Little Red Yellow Black Book is for readers of all backgrounds and provides an opportunity to discover the diverse, dynamic and continuing cultures of Australia’s First Peoples.

Each copy will include a copy of the A3 folded AIATSIS map of Indigenous Australia – packaged and glued inside the back cover.

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Last reviewed: 18 Nov 2019