Remote Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander schools and communities are diverse and complex sites shaped by contrasting geographies, languages, histories and cultures, including historical and ongoing relationships with colonialism, and connected yet contextually unique epistemologies, ontologies and cosmologies.
This paper explores the history of Anangu (Pitjantjatjara, Yankunytjatjara, Ngaanyatjarra and Ngaatjatjarra) populations, including the establishment of incorporated communities and schools across the tri-state remote region of central Australia. This study will show that Anangu have a relatively recent contact history with Europeans and Anangu experiences of engagement with colonisation and schooling are diverse and complex.
By describing historical patterns of population centralisation and decentralisation, I argue that schooling and broader education policies need to be contextually responsive to Anangu histories, values, ontologies and epistemologies in order to produce an education approach that resists colonialist social models and assumptions and instead, works more effectively towards a broader aim of social justice. Through assisting educators and policy makers to acquire a clearer understanding of Anangu histories, capacities and struggle, I hope to inform a more nuanced, contextually responsive and socially-just consideration of the provision of Western education in the tri-state region.