This land is mine

23 Aug

I am teaching year 10 History students about Aboriginal land rights in just over a week.  I want to begin by getting students to understand that the way Aboriginal people think about land is a bit different to the way Europeans think about land.

I think I am going to begin by giving them the following extract from a song featured in One Night the Moon (see here for script):

This land is mine
All the way to the old fence line
Every break of day
I’m working hard just to make it pay

This land is mine
Yeah I signed on the dotted line
Camp fires on the creek bank
Bank breathing down my neck

They won’t take it away
They won’t take it away
They won’t take it away from me

We will then have a class discussion about the relationship to land suggested by the song.  Hopefully students will recognise that the fences delineate the boundaries of land, that land is owned, paid and signed for.  I will get students to note these responses in a table on their handout.

Next, I will give the students this section of the song:

This land is me
Rock, water, animal, tree
They are my song
My being’s here where I belong

This land owns me
From generations past to infinity
We’re all but woman and man
You only fear what you don’t understand

Again, I will ask questions that stimulate discussion about the relationship between the persona and the land.

This will be followed by a discussion about the differences between the two perspectives.

I will then ask the students to reflect on which section they think is representative of the Aboriginal perspective, and which is representative of the European perspective.  Students will be given 5 minutes to draft their response and provide reasons.  A short amount of time will be devoted to sharing those responses.

Maybe next I could get the students to think about whether, based on their knowledge thus far, they think there is likely to be a conflict between the two view points.  These song extracts can be read as a dialogue wherein each person puts forward their view.  Ask students about the likely tone of the conversation.  Perhaps two students can be selected to act out that conversation.

Another way of representing these divergent viewpoints is through the film clip.  There, the men walk in different directions thus visually representing their divergent viewpoints.

The above would be used as a segue into explaining the Aboriginal fight for recognition of land rights.

2 Responses to “This land is mine”

  1. mscwhite September 18, 2013 at 10:55 pm #

    I modified this activity for one of my year 10 classes, using it as a lesson starter. I divided students into groups as they entered the room. I gave each group an envelope which contained the song cut up into rhyming couplets. Their task was to divide the lyrics into three categories: (1) lyrics that describe the Aboriginal connection to land, (2) lyrics that describe the non-Aboriginal relationship to the land, and (3) lyrics that could feasibly summarise the attitude of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people to the land.

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  1. Land Rights | Once uPUN a time... - August 24, 2013

    […] blogged yesterday about the song ‘This land is mine’, and my plans to use it as part of a lesson that […]

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