Highlighting the voice of Indigenous communities for education: Findings from a case study in rural Chile


  • Angela Baeza Carumba Institute, Queensland University of Technology https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7179-7980
  • Peter Anderson Griffith University
  • Simone White RMIT University




Indigenous peoples, Indigenous education, traditional educator, decolonising methodology


The issue of how to best address Indigenous education needs has long been a public debate. There has been much discussion in the educational system, at policy levels and at universities. However, little is known about the perception of Indigenous peoples in regard to the education that their children are receiving or how to incorporate their traditional knowledge inside the classroom. This paper shares such a study and explores the views of Indigenous people living in rural communities of the Atacama Desert of Chile. Views are shared about the needs of their children and that of teacher education. Using a decolonising rights-based methodology, the study aimed to highlight the voices of Atacameños people, who talked about their relationship with schoolteachers, their role in supporting schools and the role of the traditional educator. Findings suggest that even though Indigenous community members perceived their engagement as key in incorporating local knowledge inside the classroom, they realised they are not actively participating in school organisation. There is also a perception that the role of the traditional educator needs to be valued more because they are crucial for reducing the gap between the Indigenous community and local schools.


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Author Biographies

Angela Baeza, Carumba Institute, Queensland University of Technology

Dr Angela Baeza Peña is Diaguita First Nation from Chile. She is a Lecturer at the Carumba Institute and Manager of the International Journal of Critical Indigenous Studies. Angela is a math teacher with a Master of Education and a Master of Learning Disabilities. Her research theorises the understanding of teachers’ experiences and Indigenous community members regarding providing Indigenous education in rural and remote areas. Her most recent study focused on teachers’ and Indigenous communities’ perspectives on teacher preparation for teaching in Indigenous contexts in rural Chile. Her publications include math books and journal articles in both English and Spanish.

Peter Anderson, Griffith University

Professor Peter Anderson is from the Northern Territory’s Walpiri and Murinpatha First Nations. His research theorises the understanding of academic freedom’s organisational value in Australian universities and, more broadly, in the polar south. He is Director of the Indigenous Research Unit at Griffith University, Australia. He also served as the former Executive Director of the National Indigenous Research and Knowledges Network (NIRAKN).

Simone White, RMIT University

Professor Simone White is the Dean of RMIT’s School of Education. She is a leading expert in teacher education and professional learning, focusing on the best ways to prepare teachers for various contexts, mainly rural, regional and remote settings. Her research focuses on teacher education policy, teacher learning, professional experience, and establishing and maintaining university–school/community partnerships. She is a former President of the Australian Teacher Education Association (ATEA). She has served in various leadership positions, including Director of Professional Experience at Deakin University, Chair of Teacher Education at Monash University and Associate Dean (International and Engagement) at QUT.


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How to Cite

Baeza, A., Anderson, P., & White, S. (2023). Highlighting the voice of Indigenous communities for education: Findings from a case study in rural Chile. The Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, 52(2). https://doi.org/10.55146/ajie.v52i2.331