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Australian Biography Series - May O'Brien (Study Guide)

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Brand: NFSA
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SKU: SG1503

Synopsis

Born into the traditional life of the Wongatha people of Western Australia and educated on the remote Mount Margaret Mission, Aboriginal author and educator May O’Brien has profoundly influenced Indigenous education. May became the first female Aboriginal teacher in Western Australia, fulfilling her dream and returning to the mission to teach. As an educator over 25 years, May fought for Aboriginal rights and helped create opportunities for her people, bridging the gap between cultures. She helped establish Aboriginal committees on education around Western Australia and worked on the first report into Aboriginal education. In 1984 she was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to study programs on Indigenous issues in the USA, Canada and Great Britain and went on to hold senior positions in the Department of Education. Since retiring, May has been writing children’s books which include Aboriginal language. As an ambassador for numeracy and literacy, she remains involved in a wide range of community activities.In this interview, May discusses growing up in a bush camp, early years on a remote mission, her lifelong fight to get better education for Aboriginal children and more Aboriginal teachers, working in a male-dominated system and the joy of writing books which include her own language.

Curriculum links

This program will have interest and relevance for teachers and students at secondary and tertiary levels. Curriculum links include English, SOSE/HSIE, Australian Studies, History, Indigenous Studies, Education and Media.

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