ABSTRACT

Education has been integral to the progress and sustainability of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander societies since time immemorial. However, the impacts post-invasion, of disempowering policies and the removal of access to traditional and contemporary education, have had devastating long-term effects. This chapter summarises the historical context of Australian Indigenous higher education from invasion in 1888 to 1998, when Australia endorsed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP); from the assimilative policies post–English invasion and pre-1970s moving through to an era when Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples demanded a voice in their educational endeavours and did so through organisations such as the National Aboriginal Education Committee (NAEC) and programmes such as the ‘1,000 Aboriginal teachers by 1990’, which resulted in the forging of pathways into and through higher education. This history is presented recognising the contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in their continued endeavours to make higher education accessible and conducive to successful outcomes for their future generations, at times under extremely challenging circumstances.