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Ngiare Brown is the first female and first indigenous chancellor of James Cook University. She has joined the institution at a time when efforts to indigenize Australian higher education are taking root, with the recent interim report of the Universities Accord saying that putting First Nations at the heart of Australian higher education would bring positive, long-term changes for the sector.
Dr. Brown intends to make higher education a place for indigenous students, starting with James Cook, one of her alma maters. In this interview she explains how she wants to balance that goal with an acknowledgment of the legacy of the university’s namesake. We talk more about what she’d like to see changed in higher education, how researchers should engage better with First Nations communities and how a welcome to country statement can make a big difference when it’s done the right way.