Consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in early childhood education: The impact of colonial discourses

Miller, Melinda G. (2015) Consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in early childhood education: The impact of colonial discourses. The Australian Educational Researcher, 42(5), pp. 549-565.

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In Australian early years education, consultation and partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are central to embedding Indigenous perspectives. Building sustained and reciprocal partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people supports access to local knowledges and perspectives to inform curriculum planning, as well as protocols and community processes, and contemporary responses to colonisation. Drawing on data from a doctoral study about embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives in early childhood education curricula, this paper examines interactional patterns in consultations between non-Indigenous early childhood educators and Indigenous people in real and supposed form. Data is read through whiteness studies literature and related critiques to identify how the educators positioned Indigenous people in interactional patterns and how the mobilisation of colonial discourses impacted the potential for reciprocity and sustained partnerships, despite the best of intentions. Colonial traces of positioning Indigenous people as informants, targeted resources or knowledge commissioners were shown to be most salient in interactional patterns. While these findings are contextualised within Australia, I suggest they have applicability in examining approaches to embedding Indigenous perspectives in education curricula in other colonising contexts such as Canada and New Zealand.

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2 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 89487
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perspectives, Early childhood education, Colonialism, Partnerships, Action research
DOI: 10.1007/s13384-015-0186-z
ISSN: 2210-5328
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > EDUCATION SYSTEMS (130100) > Early Childhood Education (excl. Maori) (130102)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Current > Schools > School of Early Childhood & Inclusive Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 The Australian Association for Research in Education, Inc.
Copyright Statement: The final publication is available at Springer via
Deposited On: 26 Oct 2015 22:32
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2016 22:44

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