Suggested duration: One lesson
In this task, students will undertake some guided online research in order to investigate the sustainable natural resource management practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, with a focus on sustainable fishing.
In many parts of Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people continue to be heavily involved in the management of their traditional lands and waters. These opportunities have been created largely due to the acquisition of land and water through legal systems such as native title and land rights (The Little Red Yellow Black Book, p. 37).
For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, fishing is as natural and as necessary as breathing. It forms part of the deep cultural and spiritual connection many communities have with their waters and marine resources, whether saltwater or freshwater. Fishing is a matter of cultural practice, and is informed by cultural knowledge (https://aiatsis.gov.au/exhibitions/brief-history-indigenous-fishing).
- Students will be able to apply geographical concepts to synthesise information from various sources and draw conclusions about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples practices in resource management
|General capabilities||Cross-curriculum priorities|
|Literacy||Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures|
|Intercultural understanding||Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures organising ideas: 2, 3, 6, 9|
Australian Curriculum content descriptions
Year 9 Geography
- The effects of people’s travel, recreational, cultural or leisure choices on places, and the implications for the future of these places (ACHGK069).
- Apply geographical concepts to synthesise information from various sources and draw conclusions based on the analysis of data and information, taking into account alternative points of view (ACHGS068).
Year 10 Geography
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ approaches to custodial responsibility and environmental management in different regions of Australia (ACHGK072).
- Apply geographical concepts to synthesise information from various sources and draw conclusions based on the analysis of data and information, taking into account alternative points of view (ACHGS077).
Provisions for differentiation
Students with special learning needs may need additional time to complete the research questions. They may need to work with a reader to assist them to frame their responses.
Students could look for other online resources in the AIATSIS collections that relate to sustainable fishing.
- Copies of the Activity worksheets (PDF)
- The Little Red Yellow Black Book - an introduction to Indigenous Australia (4th edition), ‘Who we are’, Aboriginal Studies Press, AIATSIS, Canberra, 2018.
Ensure that the guidance notes included in The Little Red Yellow Black Book teacher resource have been considered.
- Traditional/cultural practices
Preparation: Make copies of the Activity worksheet - one sheet per student.
Distribute copies of The Little Red Yellow Black Book and direct students to read about fishing practices on pages 32-33. Discuss key points of the text.
Set up students with computer and internet access and direct them to the following URL:
Discuss the key points from the information on the website and assign students the remaining lesson time to complete research using the Activity worksheet.
Work through the answers with students in a subsequent lesson.
- Discussion contribution - Q and A
- Completed and corrected worksheet
- Recognising native title acknowledges the fact that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have their own systems of law which pre-date European colonisation, and that these systems give them specific rights and interests over their traditional lands and waters. This means that native title is not 'granted'; instead a successful native title claim is the formal recognition of an already existing set of rights and interests based on traditional laws and customs.
- About 84% of the Northern Territory’s coastline is now owned by Aboriginal communities through the land rights system.
- It also has value in terms of the cultural value of spiritual relationships with and access to marine territories and sacred sites, social relationships, the use and teaching of cultural knowledge and practices learnt from family and Elders and the pride associated with making a living on their Country using their culture and resources.
- Fishing means only taking what you need and preserving resources for future generations.
- The values can be summarised by this statement found in the resource, ‘A brief history of Indigenous fishing’: ‘Fishing is actually sacred to us; it’s really part of our culture. So if people want to go fishing and if they want to do it our way, then they’ll learn the sacredness. You never take more than you need, for a start.’ — Sue Haseldine, Kookatha/Mirning woman, 2017