First Nations Resources

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A collection of resources around how to most culturally appropriately write about First Nations content on our platforms.
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Wikimedia Australia is committed to overcoming biases present on Wikimedia platforms and making it an equitable and safe place for everyone. We are prioritising deeper engagement with Australian First Nations communities to explore how the development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander content can be supported. We also want to look at how First Nations contributors can be better supported to engage with Wikimedia platforms and activities in a self-determined, culturally safe and appropriate way.

For more information about this and the research that has been done, please see this discussion paper - Wikimedia Australia and First Nations metadata: ATSILIRN Protocols for description and access, 2023

In doing so we recognise that there is no singular identity among First Nations people in Australia and that there are a wide range of nations, cultures and languages across mainland Australia and throughout the Torres Strait. We recognise the self-determination of individuals, communities and nations in naming oneself and their community.

As a step towards this we have been collecting resources around how to most culturally appropriately write about First Nations content on our platforms; particularly as it relates to naming and harmful language. We understand that, given the diversity of First Nations communities, respectful language use depends on what different communities find appropriate.

We have also created the following [help for non-First Nations editors when editing and creating First Nations content] on Wikimedia platforms

We hope these resources help and please let us know if we can assist further.


Wikimedia Australia First Nations Resources

1:31:53 Representation and erasure: opportunities and risks that Wikipedia presents for First Nations knowledges - Kirsten Thorpe and Nathan “Mudyi” Sentance



First Nations Resources on Wikipedia

There are a number of pages on Wikipedia designed to give guidance in relation to adding First Nation’s content. While these are not entirely consistent they can provide you with guidance.

First Nations Australians / Guideline for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples Terminology

This template was created to provide guidance around Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples Terminology, but is mostly being developed by a non-First Nations person. The template suggests correct terminology and links to further resources. View the Template.

WikiProject Australia Indigenous Style Guide (DRAFT)

This draft is an attempt to put together a style guide on naming conventions for First Nations people in Australia.View the Style Guide (DRAFT)

First Nations Resources off Wikipedia

Australian Government Style Manual

Part of the Australian Government's Style Guide on culturally appropriate and respectful language when writing with, for, or about First Nations people. It lists several further resources in the references section. View the Style Manual

UNSW Indigenous Terminology

This guide gives clear examples over what terminology is and isn't appropriate. Please note this was last reviewed in 2019. View the UNSW Indigenous Terminology

Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS)

AIATSIS have a number of resources available through their website; these include:
  • AIATSIS Guide to Evaluating and Selecting Education Resources
AIATSIS published this guide to evaluating and selecting education resources in 2022, and is intended for educators.

View the AIATSIS Guide to Evaluating and Selecting Education Resources

  • AustLang
A dataset that provides information about First Nations languages and people from numerous referenced sources and is able to be searched by location

View AustLang

Note: Per the Jumbunna report, "some community members contest AustLang due to citations of record and research predominantly being created by non-Indigenous anthropologists and linguists, and as such, they may contain inaccurate information and misrepresentations."

  • Map of Indigenous Australia
This map attempts to represent the language, social or nation groups of Aboriginal Australia. It shows only the general locations of larger groupings of people which may include clans, dialects or individual languages in a group.

View the Map of Indigenous Australia

Indigenous Referencing Guidance for Indigenous Knowledges

This resource was created by the Indigenous Archives Collective (IAC), through funding by CAVAL and support from the CAVAL Acknowledging Cultural authority and Indigenous Knowledges (CACIK) working group, as referencing guidance for undergraduate students, and liaison librarians supporting these students, when citing Indigenous knowledges in academic writing in a Victorian context. View the referencing guide.

Protocols for using First Nations Cultural and Intellectual Property in the Arts

This guide was created by Australia Council for the Arts for creative practitioners working with First Nations artists or Indigenous cultural heritage projects. View the protocols.

ATSILIRN Protocols for Libraries, Archives and Information Services

Published in 1995 by the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA). The Protocols were endorsed by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Library, Information and Resource Network (ATSILIRN). The most recent update of the Protocols commenced at the 2010 ATSILIRN Conference. View the Protocols.

Guidelines for First Nations Collection Description

These guidelines, written by Tui Raven, were launched in October 2023. They have been developed to assist in creating a community of practice for reparative description for the Australian library sector. The guidelines have been produced as a collaboration between five organisations: the Australian Library & Information Association (ALIA), National and State Libraries Australasia (NSLA), the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS), the Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL) and CAVAL. View the guidelines.
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