Teachers who have prepared and taught units of work in Indigenous Studies would be aware of the complexities and sensitivities of language usage when studying and 'representing' a society, a people and their history.
The issue of naming is important to Indigenous people, as it is to all people. The following paper addresses some of these naming issues. It reminds us of the power of language to include or exclude, to encourage understanding of a range of positions or provide a narrow viewpoint, and to enlarge or narrow the imaginative field of writer and reader, speaker and listener.
This paper was first published in 1998 in a publication of the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria, Koorie Studies in SOSE: Years 7-10. The author of the paper, Sue Taffe, coordinated and convened the Catholic Secondary Schools Aboriginal Perspectives Network for the Archdiocese of Melbourne in the period 1992-96. She also played a key role in the design and development of Koorie Studies in SOSE: Years 7-10.
The author's permission to reprint this paper on the Yarra Healing site is gratefully acknowledged.