This map attempts to represent the language, social or nation groups of Aboriginal Australia. It shows only the general locations of larger groupings of people which may include clans, dialects or individual languages in a group. It used published resources from 1988-1994 and is not intended to be exact, nor the boundaries fixed. It is not suitable for native title or other land claims. David R Horton (creator), © Aboriginal Studies Press, AIATSIS, 1996. No reproduction without permission. To purchase a print version visit:

The School acknowledges the Traditional Owners and their custodianship of the lands on which UQ operates.

We pay our respects to their Ancestors and their descendants, who continue cultural and spiritual connections to Country. We recognise their valuable contributions to Australian and global society.

With more than 370 million Indigenous people worldwide and Indigenous politics featuring as a prominent and crucial debate in the Australian polity, the School of Political Science and International Studies is committed to increasing Indigenous engagement. Since 2010 the School has led a range of initiatives from provocative fora such as “How white is your university?” to recent commitments to include more Indigenous issues and perspectives in the curriculum. These efforts now continue as part of UQ’s commitment to reconciliation through its inaugural Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP)

Relevance of Aboriginal Political Concepts

Why we need Aboriginal political philosophy now, more than ever

1. "Wisdom": Rediscovering Aboriginal political concepts

The oldest living culture on Earth shows how our behaviour during the coronavirus pandemic demonstrates the need to reengage with political concepts in order to find new ways of addressing contemporary global challenges. Read more >

2. “Ethics”: The limits of liberalism

The destruction of ancient rock shelters by Rio Tinto and the scourge of deaths in custody are expressions of how the dominant political order bludgeons Indigenous Australia — they are also signs of the need to embrace Aboriginal ethics. Read more >

3. “Autonomy”: The limits of freedom

Aboriginal understandings of personhood provide ways of recasting understandings of our selves and our responsibilities toward others that respond better to our contemporary global challenges — including climate change. Read more >

4. “Proportionality”: The meaning of justice

Some Aboriginal political concepts are principles — fundamental truths which can be deployed across multiple intersecting registers; truths that, in turn, gain truthfulness by being confirmed through their recursive embedding in different realms. Proportionality is one such concept. Read more >

5. “Country”: Refusing colonial desecration

The nation-building that is necessary for Australia to establish its ethical grounding in this continent implies reconsideration of notions of territory drawn from European-derived political thought. Read more >

6. “Relationalism”: An alternative to sovereignty

Over tens of thousands of years, Aboriginal peoples have evolved a complex, refined, multifaceted system of obligations and dispositions, connecting the prosaic and quotidian with the ethereal and sacred. Read more >

7. “Autonomous regard”: Aboriginal realpolitik in a time of conflict

Aboriginal commitments to the combination of autonomy with regard for diverse others of the cosmos show how two forms of sovereignty can face and navigate each other, even in the conditions of settler-colonialism. Read more >

8: The relationalist ethos for managing survivalism

Human beings are relational creatures and yet, Aboriginal Australia does more with this human quality than does mainstream Australia. Read more >

9: Human futures and the incomplete Dreaming story of COVID-19

We began this series almost exactly two years ago with a hopeful observation linking the apparent care people were affording each other by adopting public health measures in the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic with ancient Aboriginal ideas of relational obligation. Read more 

How the Country was Run

How the Country was Run featuring Dr. Mary Graham, by Brian MacNamara

After a long association, Kombumerri educator and philosopher Dr. Mary Graham formally joined the School as Adjunct Associate Professor. Dr. Graham contributes to a series of discussions on “How the Country was Run”, focusing on Aboriginal conceptions of governance and socio-political order and how these interact with European counterparts under the conditions of settler-colonialism.

Study with us: Courses in Indigenous Politics

Students at UQ

The School offers courses in Indigenous politics at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

At the undergraduate level, the course Indigenous Politics & Policy (POLS2101) traces the political relationship between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous peoples of Australia as an instance of wider global relations among indigenous societies, colonial powers and contemporary national and international regimes and institutions. Students will gain an understanding of government policies and the responses to these practices by Indigenous peoples by critically evaluating the political frameworks and policy responses used to deal with Indigenous-settler relations. This course is part of the Bachelor of Arts in Indigenous Studies.

At the postgraduate level, Indigenous Politics Within and Beyond the State (POLS7190) examines the relationship between Indigenous and mainstream conceptions of political community, sovereignty, power, rights, law, diplomacy, and conflict to question, reflect, and expand upon dominant understandings of (international) politics. The course also helps students to increase their understanding of Indigenous peoples enhance capacities for working across cultural difference.


Indigenous Teaching and Learning

Students on the Great Court

Dr Morgan Brigg completed a project with UQ’s Institute for Teaching and Learning Innovation on ‘Lateral Pedagogy: Building Cultural Competence and Embedding Indigenous Perspectives and Knowledges in Curricula’. The project lays a foundation for building Indigenous cultural competence and embedding Indigenous perspectives and knowledges in curricula. If you would like to see the report, please contact Dr Morgan Brigg. 

Artwork on Display


The School has acknowledged its association with prominent artist and Adjunct Professor Fiona Foley through the purchase and display of her ‘OPIUM #5—LABOUR’

The poppies in Fiona’s work reference the Aboriginals Protection and Restriction of the Sale of Opium Act (1897) that strictly controlled Aboriginal people in Queensland, stripping them of many basic rights.

Courting Blakness

Courting Blackness

In 2014 the School contributed to “Courting Blakness” an innovative art installation by Indigenous artists in the University’s Great Court. Check out the archived website through Pandora and the accompanying book published by UQ Press


Elizabeth Strakosch's new book

A number of academics in the School actively publish on Indigenous politics in a range of outlets. Selected publications include: