Past Narrm Orations

2011 Naarm Orration

Mr William Iggiagruk Hensley, Aunty Joy Murphy Wandin  and Elizabeth Alexander AM at the 2011 Narrm Orration.

2016 - Stan Grant 

About the orator

Stan Grant is an Australian man of Wiradjuri and Kamilaroi heritage. He spent his young years on the road in an itinerant family searching the backblocks of New South Wales trying to survive. His journey has taken him around the world as a journalist covering the biggest stories of our times, from war and conflict to revolution, disaster and political and economic upheaval. He has won some of the most prestigious awards in journalism both in Australia and overseas. He has published two critically praised and best selling books 'the Tears of Strangers' and 'Talking to my country' and he is the author of the recently released Quarterly Essay looking at indigenous futures. He has worked for the ABC, Seven Network, SBS, National Indigenous Television, Sky News, The Guardian newspaper and for more than a decade as senior foreign correspondent with CNN based in Asia and the Middle East.

Oration synopsis

2016 has been an 'annus horribilus' for indigenous people. A ten year old girl took her own life in a tragic reminder that Aboriginal kids are nearly ten times more likely to commit suicide. The treatment of boys of Don Dale detention centre outraged the nation, sparked a royal commission and shone a light into the plight of the most incarcerated population in the country. Deaths in custody, protest, violence, and a crisis in indigenous policy all paint a dire picture. Yet amid the gloom there is a spark of hope: more indigenous kids are finishing school and graduating university, indigenous performers are topping our charts and winning awards, indigenous sportsmen dominate their fields and the indigenous middle class is growing faster than any other sector of the population. These are the descendants of the great Aboriginal economic migration of the 20th century. These pioneers caught the tailwinds of economic boom and social change, they transformed their lives and altered forever our country. Stan Grant looks at how far we have come and the pathway to success.

2015 - Professor Marcia Langton.

About the orator

Professor Marcia Langton holds the Foundation Chair of Australian Indigenous Studies at the University of Melbourne. She has produced a large body of knowledge in the areas of political and legal anthropology, Indigenous agreements and engagement with the minerals industry, and Indigenous culture and art.

Oration synopsis

In the 2015 Narrm Oration, 'From hunting to contracting', Professor Marcia Langton addresses Indigenous economic development: "The gates have been opened. Indigenous Australians have been formally allowed into the Australian economy. First the iron ore miners, then many of the top 200 Australian corporations, and now the Commonwealth government,  have created an Indigenous supply chain by procuring goods and services from Indigenous businesses. This follows the history of economic exclusion from colonial times to the 21st century. In many ways, Indigenous people remain locked out of normal economic participation. So, with one gate open, we should now think about removing the fences.”

Watch the oration.

2014 - Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith.

About the orator

Professor Smith has worked in the field of Maori Education and Health for many years as an educator and researcher and is well known for her work in Kaupapa Maori research. Her book Decolonising Methodologies Research and Indigenous Peoples has been an international best seller in the Indigenous world since 1988.

Oration synopsis

Professor Smith’s oration discussed the importance and relevanc of Indigenous knowledges to the ways we live our lives now and the ways our following generations can live their lives. Professor Smith began with a discussion about how, internationally, indigenous knowledges are currently conceptualised and discussed and raised some critical questions about the implications of those conceptualisations. Professor Smith then discuseds points of convergence with recent scholarship before shifting gear to examine the big challenges we face and the ways an indigenous knowledges approach can help guide us through.

2013 - Profesor Taiaiake Alfred.

About the orator

Profesor Taiaiake Alfred is the founding Director of the Indigenous Governance Program at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada. Professor Alfred specialises in traditions of governance, decolonisation strategies, and land based cultural restoration.

Oration synopsis

"Being and becoming Indigenous: Resurgence against contemporary Colonialism"

Watch the oration.

2012- Professor Megan Davis.

About the orator

Professor of Law and Director, Indigenous Law Centre, Faculty of Law, University of New South Wales and UN expert member of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples.

Oration synopsis

Professor Davis spoke on Aboriginal women and the limitations of the right to self determination. She argued that the way self-determination has been configured in international law and interpreted by the state and Indigenous communitites, has been skewed in a way that impedes the capacity of Aboriginal women and girls to freely determine their economic, social and cultural destiny. She provided an alternative view of self-determination based on individual capability - what each individual is able to do and to be. Accordingly, for Aboriginal women to achieve a threshhold of well-being, the current level of violence, vulnerability and disadvantage they face needs to discussed openly and addressed

2011 - Mr William L. Iggiagruk Hensley.

About the orator

Mr William Iggiagruk Hensley is an Inuit Leader known for his extraordinary contribution to the Alaskan Native Land Claims Movement.  Willie was elected to the Alaska House of representatives at the age of 25. He played a critical role in the negotiations surrounding the development and enactment of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971 that set aside 44 million acres and awarded $960 million for the Alaskan Natives.  Willie has recently been named as Distinguished Visiting Professor by the University of Alaska in Anchorage and will be presenting a class called "Alaska Policy Frontiers: Exploring Future Realities"

Watch the oration.

2010 - Dr Manley A Begay Jr.

About the orator:

Dr Manley A Begay Jr, is Faculty Chair, Native Nations Institute for Leadership, Management, and Policy and Senior Lecturer in the American Indian Studies Program at the University of Arizona and co-director of the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development at Harvard University.

Oration Synopsis

Drawing from the North American context, Dr Begay’s oration titled ‘Indigenous Nation Re-Building Renaissance’, provided valuable insights for his Australian audience on issues of Indigegnous leadership, governance and resiliency. “After hundreds of years of control by government, Native nations in the United States and Canada are currently experiencing a political resurgence,” said Dr Begay

“For Indigenous North Americans, it’s a wonderful time to be alive. I never thought that in my lifetime I’d see a resugence of this magnitude where Indigenous people and native nations are calling the shots. In turn, wonderful things are happening.”=

"That’s the story I bring to you. And it’s a good one"

Watch the oration.

2009 - Professor Mason Durie.

About the orator:

Professor of Māori Research and Development and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Māori and Pasifika), Massey University, New Zealand.  

Oration synopsis:

"Indigenous Development: The Academy as a Site for the Transmission of Old and New Knowledge and the Advancement of Indigeneity."