The Aurora Internship Program provides undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to be placed with Native Title Representative Bodies, Native Title Service Providers, and a range of Indigenous host organisations (including government bodies, not-for-profit organisations and Indigenous corporations) for approximately 4 to 6 weeks over the summer/winter break. Selected domestic and international students work in one of three streams (legal, anthropology, social science) within their placement organisation to gain work experience in a range of Indigenous affairs including native title, policy development, research and social justice.
My Aurora internship was at the National Centre for Indigenous Studies (NCIS) over the 2019 winter break. This provided a unique opportunity to gain exposure to the breadth of interdisciplinary research and teaching NCIS undertakes in enhancing the public’s understanding of Australian Indigenous culture and history. During my internship, I undertook highly varied work in three of the organisations’ research/policy areas: international repatriation, deficit discourse, and the reconciliation project. My tasks ranged from conducting research on the legal processes involved in enacting an international First Nations treaty with the Commonwealth government in anticipation of the 2019 First Nations Forum, conducting literature review on the ways traditional Australian pedagogical systems can manifest ‘deficit discourse’ within remote Indigenous classrooms, to digital archiving of international repatriation events of Indigenous ancestral remains.
Although more difficult to capture, the internship also provided a wonderful opportunity to engage with a number of respected academics that work within NCIS and develop a deeper understanding of their respective research fields. I’m particularly grateful to Dr Asmi Wood who took the time to debate the merits of the proposed process and content of the proposed First Nations treaty and provided the interns with a brief tour of the new ANU campus to explain the Indigenous cultural influence on the refurbished architecture/landscape.
Notwithstanding the bitterly cold Canberra winter, I would recommend students and graduates with a keen interest in the Indigenous sector to undertake a placement with NCIS. The Aurora Internship provides a unique experience to gain exposure to the breadth of cross-disciplinary research opportunities available in Indigenous affairs throughout Australia.