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Curtin University
Centre For Aboriginal Studies

Indigenous Terms of Reference

Indigenous Terms of Reference were pioneered by Lilla Watson in 1985 and refined by Darlene Oxenham in the 1990s and 2000s.

Indigenous Terms of Reference (ITR) are a set of protocols that ensure Indigenous knowledge, experience and values are respected and worked with during an Indigenous project or decision making process.

It clearly defines the roles and protocols for Indigenous practitioners, non-Indigenous practitioners and Indigenous stakeholders.

ITR makes up one of the core principles and practices in the Centre for Aboriginal Studies teaching areas in all Indigenous courses and programs.

ITR protocols are important because they:

  • reflect Indigenous values and aid students in asserting the right to self-representation, self-definition, and self-identification;
  • privilege and affirm Aboriginal cultural ways of working;
  • highlight diversity amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities;
  • provide a framework for engaging successfully in Indigenous community, education, health and research projects.

Within the Centre for Aboriginal Studies, ITR are  applied in an education and research  environment to give value to the experiences and knowledges of students and staff from many Indigenous and non-Indigenous nations.

More information about Indigenous Terms of Reference can be found in the Aboriginal Terms of Reference course paper available online from the Curtin University Library for those with a Curtin University ID number.