Working with us, not for us: strategies for being a better ally to First Nations people

Richard S Matthews, Kelly Menzel

Research output: Contribution to journalOnline ResourceProfessional


We write this article together – Kelly, a First Nations woman living on Kombumerri Country, and Richard, a Canadian white male settler living on the lands of the Minjungbal people of the Bundjalung Nation.

As a First Nations Australian academic, Kelly is often approached to give guest lectures. She aims to accept these invitations as she believes acts of reciprocity and relationality are essential building blocks for reconciliation. Further, her job requires her to teach First Nations People’s histories and knowledges.

Unfortunately, on many occasions, her knowledge is appropriated, reproduced without permission, frequently misconstrued, or misrepresented and colonised in some way. This all happens under the guise of a non-Indigenous person having “good intentions”. In addition, Kelly is frequently micromanaged regarding her Indigenous knowledges.

This is not an uncommon experience for First Nations academics.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Conversation
Publication statusPublished - 28 Oct 2021


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