Indigenous Governance Program

Reconciliation Australia’s Indigenous Governance Program promotes and strengthens First Nations-led organisations.

Four women stand outside talking
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have had systems in place to govern for thousands of generations.
Two women and a man pose for a photo holding their framed award certificate

Celebrating First Nations communities and organisations with strong governance practices.

A meeting with 2022 Indigenous Governance Award winners, SAWCAN

Practical resources on key governance topics from the Australian Indigenous Governance Institute. 

About the Program

The Indigenous Governance Program brings together people, organisations and communities in learning about, sharing the success of community-led Indigenous governance practices as part of our national reconciliation journey. The program:

  • Promotes and strengthens First Nations-led organisations through creating ways to share knowledge and stories of active Indigenous governance and amplifying the voices within
  • Expands Indigenous governance practices, supporting more First Nations-led organisations to contribute to policies and programs affecting them
  • Enables community-led partnerships for more Indigenous governance across different sectors and systems.

What is Indigenous Governance?

Indigenous Governance is integral to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership and self-determination.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have had systems in place to lead and govern for thousands of generations. These are unique ways of self-governing, driven by culture and community priorities.

A reconciled Australia would celebrate these tried and tested ways of working.

Knowing and valuing Indigenous governance practices is important in recognising and respecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and peoples as decision makers for their own futures.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have tried and tested their own models of governance for at least the past 60,000 years – and we know what works.

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Indigenous Governance News

Paul House with gum leaves and smoke
Paul Girrawah House

Paul Girrawah House has multiple First Nation ancestries from the South-East Canberra region, including the Ngambri-Ngurmal (Walgalu), Pajong (Gundungurra), Wallabollooa (Ngunnawal) and Erambie/Brungle (Wiradyuri) family groups.

Paul acknowledges his diverse First Nation history, he particularly identifies as a descendant of Onyong aka Jindoomang from Weereewaa (Lake George) and Henry ‘Black Harry’ Williams from Namadgi who were both multilingual, essentially Walgalu-Ngunnawal-Wiradjuri speaking warriors and Ngunnawal–Wallaballooa man William Lane aka ‘Billy the Bull’ - Murrjinille.

Paul was born at the old Canberra hospital in the centre of his ancestral country and strongly acknowledges his First Nation matriarch ancestors, in particular his mother Dr Aunty Matilda House-Williams and grandmother, Ms Pearl Simpson-Wedge.

Paul completed a Bachelor of Community Management from Macquarie University, and Graduate Certificate in Wiradjuri Language, Culture and Heritage and Management from CSU.

Paul provided the Welcome to Country for the 47th Opening of Federal Parliament in 2022. Paul is Board Director, Ngambri Local Aboriginal Land Council, Member Indigenous Reference Group, National Museum of Australia and Australian Government Voice Referendum Engagement Group.  

Paul works on country with the ANU, First Nations Portfolio as a Senior Community Engagement Officer

Acknowledgement of Country

Reconciliation Australia acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing  connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past and present. 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this website contains images or names of people who have passed away.

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