December 2004/January 2005 Volume 6, Issue 8

Thirty years ago Indigenous people finally managed to penetrate that great bastion of colonial privilege, the practise of law.

Despite the incredible achievements of the Indigenous legal fraternity, we remain largely invisible to the legal academy. Most Australian law schools are yet to employ an Indigenous academic. Our perspectives of the law are either excluded from the curriculum or marginalised in elective subjects.

In this special issue of the Indigenous Law Bulletin, we consider racism in legal education. Dr Irene Watson reminds us of the crucial need for all law students to be exposed to Aboriginal knowledge. Loretta Kelly argues that law schools should recognise the expertise of Indigenous law academics, through opportunities to teach and publish on our unique perspectives of the law.

Hannah McGlade poignantly informs us that getting a guernsey is only the beginning of the battle to emancipate Indigenous people in legal education. Indigenous academics are frequently subject to both blatant and covert racism. We may also be discouraged from and in some cases even punished, for fulfilling our cultural obligations. While such pressures are incredibly challenging for Indigenous academics, they can be devastating for our students. In this vein, Phil Falk illuminates the multifaceted disadvantage that many Indigenous students strive to overcome in achieving academic success.

In this special issue we have also received valuable contributions from our non-Indigenous peers. Heather Douglas gives a frank and honest account of her experiences as a support person for Indigenous students and her transition from problematising the students to problematising the system. Sean Brennan and others from the University of New South Wales Law School reflect on different measures that have been taken in order to make legal education more accessible to Indigenous people. They also make the important point that such measures can be highly effective when pursued in collaboration with Indigenous student support centres.

Nicole Watson
Guest Editor

Special Focus Edition: Racism in Legal Education

Indigenous People in Legal Education: Staring into a Mirror Without Reflection
by Nicole Watson

Law School and the Indigenous Student Experience
by Phil Falk

Indigenous Legal Education: Towards Indigenisation
by Heather Douglas

The Day of the Minstrel Show
by Hannah McGlade

A Personal Reflection on Being an Indigenous Academic
by Loretta Kelly

Some Reflections on Teaching Law: Whose Law, Yours or Mine?
by Dr Irene Watson

Indigenous Legal Education at UNSW
by Sean Brennan, Deborah Healey, Jill Hunter, Dani Johnson, Mehera San Roque and Leon Wolff


News, Reviews and Events
Recent Happenings December 2004
Recent Happenings January 2005

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