Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Secondary Students’ Experiences of Racism

  • Gawaian Bodkin-AndrewsEmail author
  • Treena Clark
  • Shannon Foster
Reference work entry


The issue of race and racism within varying Australian contexts is hotly contested politically and across a wide range of media narratives. These debates often center around questioning the very existence of racism, while simultaneously ignoring and denigrating the voices and lived experiences of minoritorized groups within Australia. This is particularly notable for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who have been continually forced to navigate the oppressive nature of systemic racism throughout Australia’s “colonial history.” Drawing from the theoretical and methodological foundations of Indigenist research (Rigney, Wicazo Sa Rev 14(2):109–121, 1999; Martin, J Aust Stud 27(76):203–214, 2003) and Indigenous and First Nations standpoints on Historical Trauma (Brave Heart and DeBruyn, Am Indian Alsk Native Ment Health Res 8(2):56, 1998; Pihama et al. 2014), this chapter will commit to a parallel mixed-methods design to explore how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander secondary school students both understand and are impacted by racism today. These findings will be extended through an Indigenous quantitative methodology that will fully articulate the impact of racism over Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students’ well-being. Themes emerging from the interviews (n = 17) suggested the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students understood racism to be much more systematic and endemic (e.g., individual, teacher, community, politics, epistemic) than has been portrayed within previous literature. The quantitative analyses (n = 49) also revealed that a more complex understanding of racism is necessary to understand how racism, in its many guises, can negatively impact Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students today.


Indigenous Australians Indigenous peoples Race Racism Historical Trauma 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gawaian Bodkin-Andrews
    • 1
    Email author
  • Treena Clark
    • 1
  • Shannon Foster
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for the Advancement of Indigenous KnowledgesUniversity of Technology SydneyBroadwayAustralia

Section editors and affiliations

  • Radomir Compel

There are no affiliations available

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