THE mother of an indigenous boy depicted as a "trouble maker" in a controversial advertisement without her knowledge has slammed the government agency that published it.

The Queensland Department of Education and Training earlier this week posted the offending image on its Teach Queensland Facebook page.

Showing a smiling white teacher surrounded by young, apparently Aboriginal boys marked with white body paint and red bandannas, the caption reads: "I always had a soft spot for the trouble makers, the misunderstood, the kid that everyone thought wouldn't make it."

The image caused outrage on the Facebook page where offended commenters claimed it was "racist", prompting Teach Queensland to remove the post.

University of Queensland indigenous studies lecturer Dr Chelsea Bond revealed she was the mother of one of the children pictured and hit out at the post on Twitter.

"On (indigenous Literacy Day) we learn how Education Qld imagines indigenous children," she wrote, while posting an image of the ad.

"Indigenous children weren't named - they didn't have to be. We already know that indigenous children are 'troublemakers'. And just to make sure there was no confusion we made sure we used the 'authentic aborigine' to illustrate this."

Dr Bond added: "I should know because one of these kids is mine. He is not a trouble maker and he has the biggest mob who knows he is going to make it.

"Aboriginal children don't need saving by white women. They are not your Jedda and nor are they your prop. They are our children. They are loved. They are human and they belong to us (not to you to use as you see fit)."

Dr Bond also said her child's image was used in the post without her knowledge or permission.

Teach Queensland has since apologised for the post and for the offence it caused.

"We have removed the post and are reviewing our processes to ensure this doesn't happen again," an apology posted on Tuesday read.

The group thanked commenters for "feedback", but the criticism has continued.

"Can I suggest when coupling quotes and visual images to think below the surface in terms of message. Also, if Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander related content, please consult with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people," Gulwanyang Gilayn Ngapigan wrote.

"Just so many things wrong with that advertisement! How disrespectful and discriminatory can you be?" Molly Muppit wrote.

Another commenter said the post "says a lot about the Queensland education system", while others suggested a "proper apology" be issued to the parents and children labelled in the post.

The Department has said those involved in the post would be required to undertake "cultural awareness training".

News Corp Australia


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