A Long Unfinished Struggle: Literacy and Indigenous Cultural and Language Rights

  • Janine OldfieldEmail author
  • Joseph Lo Bianco
Part of the Language Policy book series (LAPO, volume 19)


What counts as bilingual education for Australian Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory (NT) has varied significantly depending on geographical location and temporal context, Indigenous community involvement and the prevailing political environment. This chapter discusses NT bilingual education in relation to national and international cultural ethics, legislative acts and public policies and proclamations and declarations, alongside the effects of value differences and ideologies. It emerges that Indigenous social agents have mostly enhanced literacy education in communities and have been instrumental in the evolution of culturally informed pedagogy and team-teaching practices over the last 40 years. The chapter discusses the educational effects (assessed outcomes and school persistence rates) among Indigenous children through bilingual/biliteracy programming and exposes the recurring failure of bilingual and culturally appropriate pedagogies to attract mainstream legitimacy or consistent funding. Finally, the chapter discusses human rights questions entailed in this pervasive and continuous neglect of Indigenous languages in Australian education.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary EducationBatchelorAustralia
  2. 2.Melbourne Graduate School of EducationUniversity of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia

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