The Concept of Shame

The concept of shame used by Aboriginal English speakers is broader than the non-Indigenous use of the word. The meaning of shame extends to include embarrassment in certain situations (Leitner & Malcolm 2007:169) and is often due to attention or circumstances rather than as the result of an action by oneself (Vallance & Tchacos 2001). The feeling of shame can totally overwhelm and disempower a person.

Vallance, R. & Tchacos, E. ( 2001), Research: A Cultural Bridge. Paper presented at the Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) Conference, Freemantle, 2-6 December 2001.
Leitner, G. & Malcolm, I. G. (2007). The habitat of Australia’s aboriginal languages: past, present and future, Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin.

Taken from Indigenous Voices: Teaching Us Better

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