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BUSN103 First Peoples

Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit consists of two parts. The first part explores elements common to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, whilst not losing sight of the diversity amongst those cultures. It also outlines the dynamic change to these cultures associated with European contact. The second part of the unit examines history of First Nations responses to invasion and settlement and how they have adapted their cultures. It also explores contemporary First Nations issues within an Australian political framework to provide a foundation of knowledge and understanding of the context within which First Nations development operates to achieve the common good.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Demonstrate an appreciation and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, history and values through their epistemologies and ontologies (GA1, GA5)

LO2 - Assess the importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures and their contribution to Australia's identity (GA4, GA5)

LO3 - Examine the impact of ongoing coloniality on Australian First Nations societies and self-healing, human dignity and the common good (GA5, GA8)

LO4 - Evaluate collectively First Nations cultural and societal development within the Australian political environment (GA5, GA7)

LO5 - Appraise a rights-based approach to addressing issues and aspirations within contemporary First Nations societies in Australia and internationally (GA5, GA6)

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 


Topics will include:

  • First Nations’ Ways of Knowing and Being
  • Before the Europeans
  • Kinship & Societal Structures contribution to solidarity
  • The Coming of “Civilisation”: 1788 – 1900 Resistance and support within mainstream Australia
  • Politics and Policies: 1901– 1950’s
  • Politics and Policies: 1960’s –  (Current)
  • Politics and Policies: Colonialism to Coloniality
  • Royal Commission Into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody - Black Lives Matter
  • Push-back against the Oppressor Council of Australian Governments – “Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage”
  • Treaty and Sovereignty
  • Intergenerational trauma and healing
  • National and International rights based framework for a way forward
  • Rights of Nature & Stewardship – reflections of First Nations’ Cultures 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit will be taught in multi-modal program using a variety of delivery strategies including online delivery to the equivalent of 150 hours student workload. Where face to face contact is included this may involve intensive away from base delivery

Assessment strategy and rationale

A range of assessment procedures will be used to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements. Such procedures may include, but are not limited to: essays, reports, examinations, student presentations or case studies.

In order to pass this unit, students are required to: submit all assessment pieces and obtain 50% overall. The assessment tasks for this unit are designed for students to demonstrate their achievement of each learning outcome. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1: Essay

This assessment is 1000 words. Students are required to evaluate the importance of First Nations’ Australia before and after the coming of the Europeans. Your analysis should include before and after situations in the social and cultural environments and their relation to stewardship including the impact of government policies.. Your references are to include (but not limited to) critical reflections and perspectives of Indigenous researchers.

Submission Type: Individual

Assessment Method: Essay

Artefact: Written essay


LO1, LO2

GA1, GA4, GA5

Assessment Task 2: Reflection

This assessment is 1500 words. Students are required to critically evaluate a "mistruth" based on any of the topics covered from Weeks 5 - 9. The mistruth must be supported with references to justify your understanding of it. Likewise, the evaluation of the mistruth, is to include (but is not limited to) reflections and perspectives of First Nation leaders and/or researchers nationally and globally and their contribution to the common good.

Submission Type: Individual

Assessment Method: Reflection

Artefact: Essay


LO3, LO5

GA5, GA6, GA8

Assessment 3: Group Work – Video Presentation & Report

Students are required to collectively analyse the history and impact of the political framework in which First Nations peoples in Australia operate? Your analysis should include the progress of First Nations people to address issues and the impact on human dignity and the common good. Students are required to present their findings in a video presentation (12 – 15 minutes)with references to back up claims.  R references are to include (but not limited to) reflections and perspectives of First Nations’ researchers. Group members need to provide a 500 word summary of their presentations articulating their contribution to the group work and  containing relevant references.

Submission Type: Group

Assessment method: Presentation & report

Artefact: Video presentation & report


LO3, LO4, LO5

GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8

Representative texts and references

Australian Human Rights Commission. (2014). Racial Discrimination. (pp. 1-5). Retrieved from

Australian Law Reform Commission, 2020, land rights and native title rights in the states and territories, retrieved from

Balaton-Chrimes, S., & Stead, V. (2017). Recognition, power and coloniality. Postcolonial Studies, 20(1), 1-17. doi: 10.1080/13688790.2017.1355875

Broome, R (2014). Aboriginal Australians: A history since 1788, Allen & Unwin, Australia, 4th Edition.

Gammage, B. (2012). The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines Made Australia. Allen& Unwin, Crows

National Native Title Tribunal. (2017). . National Native Title Tribunal.

Pascoe, B. (2019). Dark Emu. Magabala Books Aboriginal Corporation, Broome.

Perkins, R. and Langton, M.(eds) (2010), First Australians, Melbourne University Publishing, Carlton.

Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision (SCFRGSP), (2016), Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage: Key Indicators 2016, Productivity Commission, Canberra. Retrieved from:

United Nations. (2008), United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, United Nations. Retrieved 7 December 2018 from

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