The role of Indigenous Cultural Immersion in the Outdoor Education Industry

Mr Matthew Alterator1

1On Country Australia

Place, Self and the connection between the two are a bedrock of Outdoor Education. An increased  focus on traditional ownership and ‘On Country’ principles in have given giving rise to Indigenous land use practices and philosophies being adopted into many joint environmental management programs including the management of national parks and flora and fauna control. This presentation will explore how Outdoor Education programs have adapted to build new ‘On Country’-centric experiences for participants

Student and Teacher based Indigenous Cultural Immersion opportunities with a focus of being ‘On Country’ are increasing in their frequency, location, depth and quality. Importantly, they are establishing a further need and revealing a gap in existing programs in schools and curriculum structures.

The Outdoor Education industry has long been leading the way in building relevance in experiences focusing on Place and Self whilst considering Indigenous perspectives. This presentation considers the role of the industry in building ‘On Country’ curriculum and content into the programs at the instructor training level and at the school level.

This presentation uses an Arnhemland based Cultural Immersion program to explore the topic from the perspectives of student participants and the host family. These perspectives offer answers to the key questions raised.


Matt is a Koori man who has dedicated his career to working with Aboriginal communities. Matt has worked in diverse remote and urban Indigenous communities across Australia combining his love of culture and the outdoors. Matt’s moral purpose is to see the future built with a deeper understanding of Aboriginal cultures. Across 17 years Matt has established strong relationships with communities, schools and various government sectors.

About the Association

Outdoor Education Australia (OEA) was established in 2006 as a national network of outdoor education associations. The organisation facilitates communication between state and territory outdoor education associations about the practice and delivery of outdoor education; advocates for outdoor education across primary, secondary and tertiary education; and provides policy advice.

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