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A challenge for all Australians

An Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-owned media company has laid down a national challenge for Australians to learn from the stories of Indigenous Australians.

Common Ground aims to inspire families and classrooms to connect over culturally-rich stories through a week of video storytelling as part of
The First Nations Bedtime Stories Challenge.

Common Ground chief executive officer and Kaytetye woman Rona Glynn-McDonald, 22, said a lot of Aboriginal knowledge was passed down through verbal storytelling, song and painting, but modern methods of recording had become increasingly important in preserving this for future generations.

She also said she felt there was a gap in the education curriculum concerning pre-colonised Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture.

“Even though I went to schools where there were many Aboriginal students, we only learnt about Cook and other explorers – this history was painted to share one truth,” Ms Glynn-McDonald said.

“We never learnt of the Frontier Wars or colonial conflict that continued in the years before we were born.”

Eighty-five per cent of Australians believe it is important to know about the histories of Aboriginal Australia, but less than half feel they have a high level of knowledge of that history.

Over the five days of the challenge, Common Ground will share five videos of Dreamtime stories told by Aboriginal elders from Central Australia, which speak of the land, animals, people and cultures of the region.

The films are in English, but feature phrases in languages that are rarely heard, such as Eastern Arrente Luritja and Pitjantjatjara.

Ms Glynn-McDonald said the learning materials were not only customised for individuals and families but also school and would fit seamlessly into the curriculum for Australian history and Indigenous culture.

“Australia is on the brink of change,” Ms Glynn-Mcdonald said.

“The next chapter of our country’s history will go forward in a better way, only if we have a deeper understanding of our past as well as present lived experiences of our First Australians,” she said.

The challenge will commence on 17 June, between National Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC week.

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