Selecting First Nations Resources

I was recently asked to do a presentation for the members of the School Library Association of NSW (SLANSW) on Resourcing for the Curriculum, and I chose to focus on an area that we are developing in one of the subjects I teach in at Charles Sturt University (CSU); ETL503 Resourcing the Curriculum. Currently, we are in the process of adding some content about Selecting First Nations Resources as it’s an area that we haven’t really touched on in depth until now. So, I thought it would be appropriate to present on this topic to the members of SLANSW.

Let me begin by covering how this came about. I completed the CSU Indigenous Cultural Competency Program last year and it got me thinking about how we could incorporate some of what I learnt from the Program into our subjects. ETL503 seemed liked the best fit because it’s a core subject, meaning everyone in our Course completes it, and we can teach specifically about evaluating, selecting, and deselecting resources. In the future, I do want to embed more information on First Nations resources, perspectives and experiences across our subjects, but for now, we are focussing on this one subject.

Before I delve into the resources I presented on, I also wanted to touch on an important aspect of why it’s important for me, a white Australian, to teach about this information. According to Siversten et al. (2023), an area of concern in many workplaces and, in the context of schools, the teaching of First Nations histories, cultures, experiences and perspectives, is the expectation of cultural load on First Australians. The idea that it is their responsibility to teach non-Indigenous Australians about First Nations histories, cultures, experiences and perspectives is deeply problematic. There is an element of consultation that is encouraged to ensure that the information being shared is credible, reliable, relevant, culturally appropriate and respectful, but there is also a wealth of information already out there for people to educate themselves on, thus reducing the cultural load of First Nations Peoples.

In the process of designing the subject content for ETL503 Resourcing the Curriculum, I did consult with a member of the CSU Indigenous Cultural Competency Program to ensure that the resources I was directing our students to were considered to be authoritative and respectful. I approached Lloyd Dolan for help and he very generously shared some resources with me and gave me permission to share them with my students and wider community. I then built the subject content for ETL503 Resourcing the Curriculum’s module 3. Selecting First Nations Resources using these resources and the references the resources directed me to. I have come up with three important areas to focus on, and will be building on these throughout the year, adding content as I come across it. The three areas of focus are:

3.1 Culturally appropriate and respectful language.

I decided that it was very important to first address some of the key language considerations before delving into selecting resources. This allowed an opportunity to clarify some language expectations to ensure that our students were able to identify culturally appropriate and respectful language in resources.

3.2 Evaluating, selecting and deselecting.

I then directed students to material that provided selection criteria to help them in evaluating, selecting, and deselecting resources. There is one document in particular that is incredibly useful. It is from the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (2007) called Selecting and evaluating resources – the most useful part about the selection criteria in this document is that it provides examples of what to look for when evaluating against these criteria, including language examples and ideas that are considered disrespectful and how to deal with the resource.

3.3 Intellectual property

The third concept I covered was the intellectual property considerations. This is a space that I think will evolve fairly quickly and an area that I am interested in learning more about.

I am looking forward to sharing this information with my students this year, to get their feedback, and to continually evolve the content to ensure I’m providing them with relevant and authoritative resources in this space. I’m including the list of resources I’m currently working with below, in case you’re interested in using them yourself to get started in evaluating, selecting and deselecting resources.

Have you started this process in your school library collection? I would love to hear from you if you have or if you have any other resources that would be helpful!


Aboriginal Affairs NSW. (n.d.) Aboriginal Cultural and Intellectual Property (ACIP) Protocol.

Arts Law Centre of Australia. (2023). Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP).

Australian Government. (2023). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. Style Manual.  

Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS). (2021). AIATSIS guide to evaluating and selecting education resources.

IP Australia. (n.d.). Indigenous Knowledge.

IPAustralia. [IPAustralia]. (2022, January, 25). What is IK? Video 1. [Video]. YouTube.

Klimm, K., & Roberston, D. (2007). How an old book created a commitment to better represent First Nations Australians. Scis Connections, (117).

Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA). (2007). Selecting and evaluating resources.

Reconciliation Australia. (2021). Demonstrating inclusive and respectful language.


Siversten, N., Ryder, C. & Johnson, T. (2023) First Nations people often take on the ‘cultural load’ in their workplaces. Employers need to ease this burden. The Conversation.

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