Issue 6
Tuesday, 07 August 2018
Charles Darwin University
Senior Lecturer Greg Williams
Senior Lecturer Greg Williams

New unit explores Indigenous sovereignty

By Patrick Nelson

The idea of a treaty with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders will be explored in a new unit on offer at Charles Darwin University.

Unit Coordinator and Senior Lecturer Greg Williams said the new unit was part of the Graduate Certificate of Indigenous Engagement, a program run externally by the College of Indigenous Futures, Arts and Society.

“We’re exploring a number of ways in which Indigenous people have expressed their sovereignty,” Mr Williams said.

“We look at developments in social, judicial and political history including the presentation of the Bark Petition to Federal Parliament, the Barunga Statement, the establishment of the Tent Embassy, last year’s UIuru Statement from the Heart and other events that have shaped the narratives of Indigenous Australians regarding sovereignty.”

Mr Williams said it was important for students to understand the interplay between the concept of Indigenous sovereignty, the ongoing processes of colonisation and the challenges of reconciliation.

“These are matters of national significance in the light of new framework legislation in Victoria and debates elsewhere around the country,” he said.

“In June the Territory Government and the land councils signed an historic memorandum of understanding paving the way for consultations to begin with Aboriginal people about a treaty.

“And last month we saw a bill passed in Melbourne that puts Victoria on course to begin to negotiate treaties with its First Peoples.”