The 'smart and cheeky' Aboriginal boy teaching Australia a lesson

A documentary about a 10-year-old Aboriginal boy's experience in school, In My Blood It Runs, has reignited a debate about Australia's failure to give indigenous children a good education and a fair start in life.

"Listen carefully," the teacher tells the class. "This one isn't a story, this is information, or non-fiction - it's fact."

She's holding up The Australia Book, a picture book from 1952, and reads: "In Botany Bay, Cook landed for the first time in a new country. Then he sailed up the coast, mapping as he went... On an island in Cape York he raised the English flag. And he claimed for the English country the whole of this new land."

Dujuan Hoosan's hand shoots up, but he doesn't get the chance to speak.

Afterwards, the children have to find a list of words in the text and mark them with a highlighter. Dujuan, a 10-year-old Aboriginal boy, struggles a bit with the vocabulary, but he finds it even harder to recognise the story, because the history he has been taught by his elders is very different.

"That [lesson] was for white people, not for Aboriginals," he reflects. "This man came on the ship and he was the first white man on Australia. The Aboriginal people told them to go and find another land, because this was their land. But people didn't listen."

Film-maker Maya Newell filmed the scene for her documentary, In My Blood It Runs - in which she followed Dujuan at school for a year - and could feel his frustration.

"You imagine what it feels like to be essentially erased from history," she says.

Maya and Dujuan first met "out bush" when Maya was filming a story-telling session in one of the red-earth deserts of central Australia. Sitting around a campfire at night, a rapt group of Aboriginal children listened as aunts and grandmothers told stories in the Arrernte language about how the world began and about their connection to the land.

Dujuan was an eager learner. He had already got to know quite a few plants with medicinal properties, and told Maya about his healing gift: when his family had aches and pains it was his job to lay hands on them, he said, using powers that had passed to him after his great-grandad died.

Maya was struck by the unusually confident and articulate 10-year-old. When Dujuan said she should make a film about him, she asked his family, and they agreed. They wanted to shine a light on the difficulties Aboriginal families face in Australian schools, and they trusted Maya, who had been working with their community for more than a decade, making educational films and archiving songlines (an ancient way of passing on laws and knowledge).

Maya began to spend two or three days a week with Dujuan's family - his mother, grandmother and two brothers - recording day-to-day life in the Hidden Valley Aboriginal Town Camp, on the outskirts of Alice Springs. Some days there was no milk, so the boys ate breakfast at school. Some nights there was no electricity, so they played I-spy under the stars.

About 20% of the town's 30,000 residents are Aboriginal, and most of them live in heavily-policed, run-down camps that sprang up in the 1960s, when many Aboriginal people were forced off their land.

"You grew up around drunks, smoking - then you start learning from that," says Dujuan's mum, Megan. She was expelled from school at 14, so her parents sent her to stay with aunties in the safety of the countryside in Borroloola, 1,260km (780 miles) north. That's where she met Dujuan's dad, James, who came back with her to Alice Springs with their first child, but left when they broke up, a few years after Dujuan was born.

"Being a teenage parent is hard, and being an Aboriginal mum is exhausting," Megan says. "Every day you hear that you are not good enough - in the newspapers, on TV, on social media."