Aboriginal Perspectives on Sustainability focuses on the contemporary environmental movement and urban Aboriginal landscapes. Students will explore the relationship and connection of Aboriginal people with the environment and their traditional sustainable practices and investigate the impact of colonisation/dispossession to the urban biota. Students will be introduced to the local provenance of Aboriginal plant resources and the ways in which colonised spaces and places are incorporating and reintroducing these species. The unit will cover topics related to contemporary Aboriginal self-determination and self-management in the control of cultural heritage, landscapes and land management. Students will be introduced to the agency of Aboriginal people in relationships and negotiations with third parties over land and resources and the impact of climate, policy and practice on access to land, cultural practices and resources.

Unit details

Study level:
Credit points:
Unit code:


AEK1105 - Aboriginal Traditions and Policy or

AEK1106 - Reconciling Australian Humanities Education or

AEK1204 - Aboriginal History and Political Movements

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Investigate and conceptualise the key issues of environmental land management and sustainability from the perspective of Aboriginal people;  
  2. Critically describe and evaluate the relevance of Aboriginal perspectives to contemporary environmental issues in Australia;  
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of the complexities of Aboriginal access to land, cultural heritage and traditional owners; and  


Assessment type Description Grade
Review Review articles and other relevant materials on issues discussed in classes. 30%
Essay Major essay on relevance of Aboriginal perspectives on contemporary issues of sustainable environmental management. 70%
Total effective word limit 3000 words.

Required reading

Aboriginal Melbourne: The lost land of the Kulin people,
Presland, G 2004,
Melbourne: McPhee Gribble.

Dark Emu. Black Seeds : Agriculture Or Accident?
Pascoe, B 2014,
n.p.: Broome, Western Australia : Magabala Books

Where to next?

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