Evaluating resources

At the very least 2000 generations of Aboriginal Australians have lived and died, laughed and cried, played and loved, just as people do today. How will you tell their story?

The following criteria are useful when selecting resources that have Aboriginal content and Torres Strait Islander content. These criteria are a guide only and as a result you may not always get your selection right every time. These criteria will help you to be more aware of what to look for.


  • Are resources/materials up-to-date? (as a general rule do not use publications produced before the 1980s, however there will always be exceptions).
  • Do the materials clearly show Aboriginal involvement and Torres Strait Islander involvement in their development?
  • Do the resources illustrate the diversity, complexity and distinctiveness of Aboriginal cultures and Torres Strait Islander cultures?


  • Do the resources present a balanced view of the roles of women and men?
  • Are the contributions of Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders, to general Australian society, given respectful and due representation?
  • Do the materials give a "sense of people" and not simply talk about "how the Aborigines made stone axes", "the never ending search for food in a desolate land" or "hunting in the Torres Strait".
  • Do the resources give a range of perspectives?
  • Whose values are being portrayed?

Culturally appropriate

  • Is appropriate terminology evident when talking about Aboriginal people and cultures and Torres Strait Islanders and their cultures?
    Terms such as tribe, chief, king, queen, etc. are not reflective of Australian Indigenous societies; instead terms such as language groups, clans/clan groups, and elders are more appropriate.
  • Secret/sacred content should never be taught. Using images or sound recordings of recently deceased persons can cause offence to communities. Communicating and consulting with Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders is essential. Check with your local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Learning and Engagement Centre for appropriate contacts.