Deepening awareness and understanding of Indigenous culture in the classroom

Did you know Australia is celebrating Indigenous Literacy Day today?

Indigenous Literacy Day aims to raise vital funds to put books and literacy resources into the hands of school students, babies, toddlers and mothers in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Australia.

Oxford University Press has published an Indigenous Literacy series Yarning Strong. The stories have been written by Aboriginal authors and reviewed and guided by a national advisory committee of respected Indigenous educators.

“A number of the [Yarning Strong] stories and themes address the impact intolerant views and racist behaviour can have. As well, the stories share insights into the richness of Indigenous cultures.”

The Hon. Linda Burney, MP; NSW Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Member of Canterbury

debandjimiHigh-profile Indigenous actors, Deborah Mailman and Jimi Bani narrated the fiction novels on the Years 3–4 audio books. Deborah had this to say about one of the novels she read: “Caught me a wish is a beautiful and heartfelt story. A simple gesture of telling a story in the hope that others can be reminded of what is important in life can have a remarkable knock-on effect. “


Here is an excerpt from Caught me a wish written by Sue McPherson:

“I’m adopted. YCaught-me-with-a-wish-yarning-strongep, my name is Bindy Lee Williams and I’m adopted.

I was brought home under the palest blue sky, in the middle of April, twelve years ago. My biological family are descendants from Scotland, Italy and England. That’s what my adoption papers say anyway.

I have long blond hair, which is usually plaited and tied with whatever we can find on the day. Sometimes that’s a ribbon or an elastic band. Other times it could be a piece of wool or even a shoelace.

I’ve got blue eyes. Grandad tells me they change with the weather. They can look grey on stormy days. They’re almost hazel when it’s raining or if I’m tired. I’m average height for my age and a bit pudgy. But I can still belly-slide under the car if I need to reach a tennis ball that’s rolled there.

I don’t think I’m gifted at anything. Let me think … maybe burping. Mr Turner, our next-door neighbour, says he can hear me burp all the way over at his house. Sick, eh?

I’ll give it to you straight: my family are Koorie. Yep, they’re Aboriginal, from

Wiradjuri country. Wiradjuri are the largest mob in New South Wales. There’s my mum, Trisha; my dad, Billy; my brother, Rocco; and Grandad. Grandad lives with us.

I’ve also got heaps of cousins, aunts and uncles. Everyone, except me, has that beautiful coffee-coloured skin, deep brown eyes and dark hair.”

To help the Indigenous Literacy Foundation continue their amazing work or to find out more about who they are, go to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation website.

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