First Nations Histories towards Social Justice and Institutional change

Thursday 9 September: 10:00am -11:30am

This seminar features three speakers who have been at the centre of movements for institutional, national, and international change. This expert panel will address the role of historical research and work in and towards public or governmental institutions to create political change.

The speakers will discuss their work either within governmental institutions or directed towards government, and we will hear about their experiences of working with and undertaking, transformative research.

Questions of where we practice scholarship, and for whom we write or present, are critical for emerging scholars to consider in Indigenous Studies and/or Indigenous Histories. Hearing about the different places and ways that these scholars have undertaken their important work will assist participants think about who they are, how they practice their history work, and how their own work can contribute to effective social justice and institutional change.


Professor Jackie Huggins is a Bidjara/Birri Gubba Juru woman who has enjoyed a stellar career across academic, corporate and social sectors. She is among the first First Nations historians in Australia. Currently Co-Chair of the Treaty Advancement Committee in Queensland, she has served on a number of national and state boards, directed her own consulting firm, and was Deputy Director of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies at the University of Queensland. She was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2001 and a Fellow of the Academy of Humanities in 2007. She has written widely for history books and journals nationally and internationally.

Professor Peter Yu is a Yawuru man with over 35 years’ experience in Indigenous development and advocacy in the Kimberley and at the state, national and international level. He is Chair or Deputy Chair of a number of organisations relating to Indigenous development and advocacy as well as a Council Member of the Governing Board of the Australian National University and CEO of Nyamba Buru Yawuru. Peter’s business and organisational acumen as well as outstanding track record in community leadership will be especially helpful.

Ms Sonia Smallacombe is a member of the Maramanindji people from the Daly River area. She worked as a Social Affairs Officer with the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues for eleven years. Prior to joining the UN, Sonia was a Senior Lecturer in the School of Australian Indigenous Knowledge Systems, Charles Darwin University. Her Masters thesis was on the intellectual and cultural property rights of Indigenous peoples. Co-Chairs: Dr Ben Silverstein, Australian National University and Dr Crystal McKinnon, RMIT

Register via Eventbrite: This seminar will be conducted via Zoom. Please register immediately. A link will be emailed to all attendees prior to the event.

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