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$US460,000 grant will help foster global Indigenous relations

David Prestipino -

The Native Nations Institute in Arizona has received a three-year, $US460,000 ecosystem grant to increase its skillbase and capacity to help engage with other First Nations people across the world.

UArizona's Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy established the institute in 2001 to support nation-rebuilding efforts of Indigenous peoples across 90 countries, including First Nations Australians.

Resources are focused on strengthening the internal governance capacities and political, economic, and community development objectives of respective Indigenous peoples.

The NNI said it would use part of the $US460,000 grant from the Bush Foundation to help nation-building efforts and education across the world, with a further $US10k allocated to leverage the institute's capacity-building opportunities and skillbase.

The NNI recently developed a global alliance program to facilitate an increase in the sharing and governance of Indigenous data and research, which was adopted by UNESCO and other countries including Australia.

The institute's CARE Principles for Indigenous Data Governance (Collective benefit, Authority to control, Responsibility, and Ethics) aims to create value from Indigenous data and realise opportunities within the knowledge economy and First Nations business sector, using new information and research to advance Indigenous innovation and empowerment.

Bush Foundation grantmaking director Jackie Statum Allen said it relished the opportunity to help organisations that help others.

"Ecosystem grants are awarded by the foundation to provide operating support to organisations that support Native nations exercise sovereignty," she said.

The NNI's push to further ties with First Nations represenatives from the 90 countries home to 500 million Indigenous people is timely for Australia, given the Albanese government recently introduced the country's inaugural First Nations foreign policy doctrine and appointed an official Ambassador for First Nations People for the first time.

Justin Mohamed, a Gooreng Gooreng man from Bundaberg in Queensland, was in March chosen to head the government's Office of First Nations Engagement within DFAT.

He is charged with informing the way Australia engages with the world and ensuring the government delivers its commitment to embed Indigenous perspectives, experiences, and interests into Australia's foreign policy, as well as work with the National Indigenous Australians Agency responsible for allocating billions of dollars in federal funding for Indigenous services.

In June, the Australian Institute of International Affairs praised the Albanese government for its aim to embed the unique experiences and perspectives of Indigenous people into foreign affairs policy.

Nearly $5 million was allocated in the recent federal budget to the Official Development Assistance, to help fund First Nations diplomatic missions across South-East Asia and the Pacific.

These senior advisers have specialised knowledge of Australian First Nations experiences as well as the perspectives and cultures of Indigenous peoples across 90 countries.

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