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Ngara: Embedding truth-telling about the legal system in the Sydney Law School curriculum

Dr Fady Aoun, Associate Professor, Elisa Arcioni, Dr Louise Boon-Kuo, Louisa Di Bartolomeo, University of Sydney


Truth-telling and taking responsibility are integral parts of the University of Sydney’s commitment to promoting equality and diversity by uncovering complicity with and engagement in racist ideas and practices. One of the ways that Sydney Law School is supporting and facilitating truth-telling is by listening to, learning from and respecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledges and voices about the legal system – how the legal system was established, what it has been, what it is now and the avenues for change – and taking responsibility for the system that we work within. This paper explores collegiate engagements across and beyond the Law School that enrich the curriculum with the aim that all law graduates will listen, hear and think about 'Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ knowledges and perspectives, including the ongoing effects of colonisation, and ... the cultural specificity of law'. This includes collaborative discussions and processes reflecting on the cultural appropriateness of naming the new course learning outcome ‘Ngara’, a Gadi word from the language of the Sydney basin which means ‘listen, hear, think’ (Troy, The Sydney Language (1994) p 74).