Hip hop stories

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Hip hop stories

Traditional Indigenous languages are characterised by storytelling, music and dance. At Yuendamu in the Northern Territory a group of young Indigenous people are using hip hop to tell their stories.

Episode 17
24th june 2008

Learning Area

Society and Environment

Key learning

Students will develop a deeper understanding of Indigenous hip hop music as a way of continuing culture and language.

ocus Questions

  1. Retell the story in your own words.

  2. Why is storytelling important for Indigenous cultures?

  3. What is the Indigenous community in Yuendamu using to tell their stories?

  4. What is the Wakakirri Festival?

  5. Why are they trying to keep traditional Indigenous languages alive?

  6. How many Indigenous languages are there?
  7. Why is it important for young Indigenous people to have the opportunity to express themselves?

  8. Some people believe that hip hop is American and doesn’t have much to do with Indigenous culture. Do you agree? Explain your answer.
  9. Why do you think young Indigenous people identify with hip hop?

  10. Predict what might happen if Indigenous storytelling doesn’t continue?

Modern day corroboree

Students will be exploring what hip hop music is, how it has influenced Indigenous Australians and why it’s important for them to be able to tell their story. Begin with a partner brainstorm asking students to write down what they know about hip hop music and how Indigenous people are using it to tell stories. From the brainstorming session, ask students to record any questions they have or topics they would like to know more about. Some possible topics for inquiry include:

Find out more about the elements of hip hop – beat boxing, MCing or rapping, and breakdancing.

Choose an Indigenous hip hop artist and create a profile of them. What elements of hip hop are they using? What stories are they telling?

Compare Australian hip hop to American hip hop. What are the similarities and differences?

Ask students to present the findings of their topic/s for inquiry with the rest of the class. Some ways to present information include:

Develop a video or PowerPoint slide presentation

Give an oral presentation

Use words and rhythm to present the topic

Conduct an interview/radio program

Reflecting on learning

What do you understand more clearly from this inquiry?

What are some things you would do the same in your next inquiry, and what are some things your might do differently?

Further investigations

Create a rap that reflects your own identity or tells a story.

Design a poster advertising an Indigenous Hip Hop artist.

8 Related Research Links

ABC Stateline – Yuendumu hip hop story


ABC Australia Wide – Wakakirri story telling festival in Yuendumu – video link


Wakakirri website


Time for kids – information about rap and hip hop


Aboriginal language hip hop


Indigenous languages

  1. What were the main issues in the BtN story?

  2. What is bilingual education?

  3. How many hours a day does the Government want schools to teach in English?

  4. Why did the Government make the changes?

  5. What do Indigenous elders think about the changes?

  6. Describe the connection between language and culture for Indigenous people.

  7. What do some teachers think about the changes?

  8. Do you agree with the changes? Explain your answer.

  9. How would you feel if most of your classes were taught in a language you knew little about?

  10. How did this story make you feel?

Send a message or tell us what you think on the BtN Guestbook.

ABC Four Corners – Going back to Lajamanu

ABC News –Race Discrimination Commissioner labels bilingual education 'a success story'


ABC News - Indigenous languages still being used
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade – Indigenous languages
Culture portal – Australian Indigenous cultural heritage


  1. What is discrimination?

  2. What discrimination did women face until the 1960’s?

  3. How were Indigenous Australians discriminated against in the past?

  4. What was the `White Australia Policy’ and what was it trying to achieve?

  5. When did the Government introduce anti-discrimination laws?

  6. What happened to a group of Aboriginal girls at an Alice Springs hostel recently?

  7. Why do the Aboriginal girls think they were asked to leave?

  8. What did the hostel manager say happened?

  9. Do you believe that they were discriminated against? Why or why not?

  10. What do you think should happen next?







Stolen Generations

  1. What was the main point of this story?

  2. Why do you think the Indigenous children taken from their families are known as the “stolen” generations?

  3. It was Government policy that Indigenous children be removed. Why do you think they thought this was necessary?

  4. “They thought they were doing the right thing.” How has social policy changed?

  5. What does the sentence “a gross violation of human rights” mean?

  6. What is assimilation?

  7. Imagine being taken away from your family. How does it make you feel?

Government Apology

  1. Why do you think the current government has chosen to apologise?

  2. Describe how Indigenous people may have felt when the Prime Minister was apologising.

  3. Why is it considered one of the most important speeches in Australian history?

  4. It’s been described as an important part of the healing process. Discuss.

  5. Do you think it’ll help the reconciliation process? Why or why not?

  6. Should the Stolen Generations receive compensation?

  7. The government has stated there will be no compensation fund. Discuss.

  8. Is it ever too late to say sorry?

  9. There was ‘bi-partisan’ support for the apology. What does this mean?

ABC 730 Report – Rudd, Nelson apologise to Stolen Generations

ABC – Apology to Stolen Generations


ABC AM – Mixed feelings on the apology in rural NSW


Australian Human Rights Commission – Bringing them home


Footy school

  1. Retell the story in your own words.

  2. How are some Indigenous students being encouraged to attend school?

  3. Describe the Football Academy?

  4. What is a mentor?

  5. Why are mentors important in this program?

  6. How does the program support Indigenous students?

  7. In your own words, retell Donovan’s story.

  8. How has the program been positive for Donovan?

  9. Why is it important for students to attend school regularly?

  10. What else could be done to support Indigenous students attend school?

ABC Stateline Northern Territory – Clontarf

ABC Rural –Footy helping Indigenous youth after high school


Clontarf Foundation website


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