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Faculty of Arts and Society

First Nations Sovereignty and Diplomacy Centre

First Nations Law, Policy, Culture, Values First


First Nations Sovereignty and Diplomacy Centre (FNSDC) is a unique ‘dual academy’ lead, operated and guided by Indigenous elders in collaboration with non-Indigenous academics within the College of Indigenous Futures, Education & the Arts. FNDC's primary focus is to extend and nurture the network of First Nations sovereign groups in Australian First Nations training, education and research. 

FNDC operates with the following three Yolŋu concepts in mind: 

Wata - the seasonal winds which explain how each group of Yolŋu recognises its place in the world through understanding the winds and breezes which come to them from other places. It talks about being in place and meeting others through connections among places.    

Warraw’ – temporary ceremonial shelter where the owners of a particular landscape enact knowledges under the guidance and supervision of their guardians and custodians.  

Mulka – a space where Yolŋu elders and emerging generations comfortably sit, support each other, and work respectfully with mindful of reciprocal care.  

A long history of connection and partnership between Yolŋu scholars and CDU academics and researchers is the foundation of the Centre. Recognised by Indigenous communities across NT and beyond, FNSDC provides a culturally comfortable space for First Nation Authorities and teachers to come together to share knowledge and contribute to research projects, teaching-learning programs and language-related research work. These authorities provide cultural expertise and value to courses like the Indigenous Cultural Diplomacy program (Kaurareg Nation, Nambri Ngunnawal Nation and Yawuru Nation) and First Nations language programs (Yolŋu, Bininj, Murrinh and Arrernte).

This work is vital in changing non-Indigenous ways of thinking, and promoting consultative and collaborative research and teaching practices so that First Nations Rom (Culture, Law, System, Values) can be understood properly.

Research strengths are in:

  • First Nations Knowledge Traditions and Philosophies  
  • First Nations Sovereignty and Diplomacy 
  • First Nations Languages