Ask participants to draw a mind map onto butchers paper of what they would include in marine and coastal studies (ie. the scope). Allow participants to compare mind maps and facilitate a short discussion on the similarities and differences of the mind maps; whether the mind maps show a particular geographical viewpoint, personal viewpoint or cultural viewpoint; and whether a person from a different culture might view (and therefore teach) about the coast and marine environment in a different way.
B. Workshop objectives
As a whole group, show OHT 2 and explain the objectives of the workshop.
Relate the objectives to the key issues that have been discussed in the Introductory activities.
Introducing the 3 R's (Recognition, Respect and Responsibility)
This activity introduces the importance of the connection between Indigenous peoples and their sea country, both in traditional and contemporary times; and looks at the need to rebuild those cultural links for positive environmental outcomes. The role of coastal and marine education in this process is defined.
This activity is a series of presentations by the trainer supported by overheads (provided), group discussions supported by readings (provided), and video material (resource list). Guest speaker(s) will also be present if possible.
A. Recognition of Indigenous peoples
Display OHT 3 (Aboriginal Australia) showing the language groups of south
eastern Australia. Explain that Aboriginal people are not a homogenous
group but rather a collection of related but different groups. Explain
that different groups can have different languages (more than 250 languages
and over 700 dialect groups have been recorded in Australia); a different
set of customary laws; different (although geographically-related) stories,
music, art and dance; and different uses of the environment and its resources.
Explain that each tribe or clan is associated with a clan estate, referred
to as `country'. Discuss the difficulty of putting names on a map, given
that there usually are no distinct or stationary boundaries for `country'.
Ask participants to think of the different words that Aboriginal people
call themselves - (Koorie -Victoria and New South Wales, Murri - Queensland,
Yolngu - NT, Nungu - SA and so on). Ask if anyone knows an Aboriginal
person traditional to their area and if not, discuss the reasons for this.
(Point out that participants should not assume that traditional people
do not exist in their area - see Activity 4). If participants know Aboriginal
people who live in their area but are from another `country', discuss
the effects of displacement of Aboriginal people from their traditional
countries during the settlement of Australia.
Display OHT 4 to show an example of a clan estate which includes land, coast, sea and reef. Explain that land and sea are seen as one, and this is reflected in the way Indigenous people refer to the marine and coastal areas of their clan estates as `sea country'.
In debriefing the discussion, ask each group to report back to the whole
Show OHT 6 and explain that although archaeologists
generally believe that Aboriginal people arrived in Australia about 40
000 years ago (and dates of 50 000 and 60 000 years ago are now also suggested),
many Indigenous peoples believe differently. Their religious beliefs include
stories about their origins, descending from various mythical ancestors
in the Dreaming.
Explain that Aboriginal peoples have lived in Australia through several
changes in sea levels. 40 000 years ago the sea was about 40m below present
levels; 18 000 years ago during the last Ice Age, sea levels were more
than 120m below present levels. The sea then rose rapidly, reaching its
present day level about 6 000 years ago, with some parts of the coast
inundated at a rate of 5km per year. Aboriginal peoples' attachment to
their inundated country was preserved in new creation stories that explained
the origins of islands and identified cultural sites now underwater; and
the newly submerged lands become `sea country'.
In small groups, ask participants to refer to Resource
3 explain what they think is meant by the statement "Not only
do the people need their land, the land needs its people". (This
was coined during the campaign to return Starcke coastal land in North
Queensland to the Traditional Owners, which you can read about in Horstman
(1996) - see Further Reading). You should also show sections from the
video Saltwater People (GBRMPA, 1997) if available, to further stimulate
Ask participants to discuss Reading 3
in small groups. Ask participants to reflect on how they feel about the
long association between Indigenous peoples and their sea country; the
abrupt severing of that connection 200 years ago, and the recent struggle
to rebuild and strengthen those ties. Ask participants to draw on butchers
paper their vision for `sea country' in 2020. Encourage participants to
use words, symbols, pictures or other means to express their ideas and
then to share their visions with others in the group. If you have time,
ask one participant to `create' his vision using the group to role-play
what he/she has seen. Ask each role-player what has happened to them since
1999 and how they feel in the year 2020.
Show OHT 7 and explain that aside from the need to recognise and respect Indigenous peoples as the earliest owners and managers of sea country, Indigenous people today have specific concerns related to use and management of the coastal and marine environment. Mention that almost one half of Australia's Indigenous peoples live in the coastal zone. Present the possible Indigenous viewpoint that non-Indigenous people have exploited marine resources over the past 200 years and that current management not only excludes Indigenous peoples from access to their traditional resources but also from decision-making about use of that resource.
Brainstorm all the driving forces (things that help to achieve this goal) and all the restraining forces (things that hinder the achievement of this goal). Put ideas onto butchers paper.
4. Summing up
In debriefing this part of the workshop, summarise the 3 Rs, mentioning
the key understandings that participants should now have - recognition
of the importance of `sea country' to Indigenous peoples' identity, culture
and social structure; respect for Indigenous peoples as the earliest owners
and managers of the coast and marine environment; and the social and environmental
responsibility that educators have to include Indigenous perspectives
into coastal and marine studies.
Emphasise the long-term benefits of greater understanding of Indigenous
perspectives on sea country - greater community support to involve Indigenous
peoples in land and sea management; enhanced management of the coastal
and marine environment and its resources; improved relations between Indigenous
and non-Indigenous Australians; and enhanced economic independence for
Point out that when non-Indigenous people attempt to include Indigenous perspectives into their curriculum, they need to be aware of the issues which are covered at the end of the workshop in the `best practices' activity. Add that the next section of the workshop is about specific Indigenous uses and management of sea country.
Cultures Of The Coast - Past And Present
Whereas the previous activity dealt with the conceptual nature of Indigenous
peoples' connection to sea country, this activity looks at some of the
details (as far as is possible given the cultural protocols surrounding
Indigenous information) of how Indigenous peoples use and manage the coastal
and marine environments and its resources, drawing from both the past
and the present.
This activity involves presentations and workshops, where possible, by
guest Indigenous speakers, with facilitated group discussions led by the
trainer. Participants will then engage in several issues-based conflict
resolution role play activities.
Participants gain an appreciation of the body of Indigenous knowledge
about the coastal and marine environments, the sheer resourcefulness required
to utilise this knowledge and the complex customary laws that serve as
management tools to conserve resources. They will also gain insight to
some of the contemporary coastal and marine management issues that affect
Indigenous peoples' aspirations to lead environmentally- and culturally-sustainable
A. Guest presentation
Invite an Indigenous speaker to present a talk about any of the following topics that he or she feels qualified to speak about. Alternatively he or she may be able to suggest a related but more appropriate topic. (Refer to Activity 4 for advice on cultural protocols to follow when inviting Indigenous speakers to your workshop).
Follow up this presentation with a hands-on workshop if possible. Organise for the guest presenter or another Indigenous person to demonstrate some of the skills needed for utilising coastal and marine resources. This activity will depend upon your location - you may have a field trip or be classroom based. The session is entirely at the discretion of the Indigenous presenter but may include demonstrations of:
In some cases, it will not be possible for an Indigenous person to assist in your presentation at all or for that person to present the practical aspects of his/her culture. As an alternative, you could invite an Indigenous dance troupe or artist to your workshop to demonstrate an aspect of Indigenous culture that is related to the sea country.
To replace the above activity or to extend it, ask participants to discuss Readings 4 and 5 in small groups, to categorise or summarise the many uses of coastal and marine resources . Participants may wish to use techniques such as mind maps or pinboarding.
B. Group discussion
Display OHT 9 and, based on Reading 6, comment on the extent of traditional knowledge required by Aboriginal people to utilise marine and coastal resources, using the traditional implements described in earlier readings.
Hand out Resource 5 and display OHT 10. In small groups, ask participants to discuss whether we can learn about living sustainable lifestyles from Indigenous perspectives and what those lessons might be. Refer participants to Reading 6 for further ideas and ask each group to report back on their ideas.
In debriefing the discussion, highlight that cultural protocols surround
all Indigenous information; that the information contained in the Resources
and Readings is specific to particular groups of people; and is able to
be used here because it is in the public domain. Mention that information
protocols will be explained in the Activity
Introduce this activity by explaining that the previous activities have
provided the background necessary for understanding Indigenous perspectives
- the spiritual, physical, economic and social connection between people
and their country. In order to provide this insight, the material has
focused on traditional knowledge and management from the past; and we
will now investigate the way in which the past informs the present and
look at some contemporary management issues that affect Indigenous peoples'
aspirations to lead environmentally- and culturally-sustainable lifestyles.
Research to find a relevant local marine or coastal management issue
that is suitable as a case study and invite an appropriate Indigenous
person to present their perspective on the issues. Use the material in
Resource 7 to develop your case study
to fully explore the issue. If this is not feasible, use the case study
provided in Resource 8; alternatively
you may choose to do both as comparative studies.
Divide the group into half and refer each group to either Resource
7 and/or Resource 8. Ask participants
to use the pinboard technique to identify the key issues in their case
study affecting Indigenous peoples' aspirations to achieve an environmentally-
and culturally-sustainable lifestyle; and to think of some education solutions
to the key issues.
Ask each member in the group to write down what they think are the key points - possibly strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats - writing one point per card
Ask participants to place their cards (anonymously) onto a pinboard using pins or blue tack. Facilitate the group to form clusters of similar ideas by consensus. Then ask them to think of cluster headings that summarise the broad issue for each group of cards.
Allow time for each group to report back to the whole group, and compile and discuss the results.
Debrief this activity by commenting that although every Indigenous group has a different culture, a different history of experience and faces different coastal conservation issues today, the commonalties are greater than the differences. There will be many common themes in each issue or case study that could be included into Coastal and Marine Studies.
Best Practice Guidelines
Before teachers begin teaching about Indigenous perspectives, they need to be aware of the cultural protocols and sensitivities that need to be observed when working with Indigenous people and their information. This section is therefore very important to the success or otherwise of any curriculum that includes Indigenous material.
This activity involves group discussion and debate on best practices for incorporating Indigenous perspectives in Coastal and Marine Studies and looks at roles in teaching Indigenous perspectives. A pinboarding exercise will be used to generate ideas for where Indigenous perspectives can best fit into the existing curriculum. The activity, and the workshop, concludes with another mind map exercise that allows participants to evaluate their progress in awareness of Indigenous perspectives.
Display OHT 12 and explain the principles upon which best practice guidelines are based. Refer participants to Reading 6 for more detail.
Divide the group into groups of 6 and ask participants to discuss or debate the topic, "Should non-Indigenous teachers attempt to teach Indigenous perspectives in Coastal and Marine Studies?"
B. Pinboard exercise
To conclude the workshop, ask participants to individually draw another
mind map of `the coast' or `the sea' with a view to how they will now
teach coastal and marine studies. Ask participants to display this mind
map with their earlier mind map and walk around the room to view other
peoples' maps. Discuss any changes that have appeared.
In concluding the workshop, show OHT 2 again and evaluate how well participants feel that the objectives were achieved. Summarise the major points covered in the workshop: