AELA acknowledges that the sovereignty of the First Peoples of the continent now known as Australia was never ceded by treaty nor in any other way. AELA acknowledges and respects Indigenous peoples' laws and ecologically sustainable custodianship of Australia over tens of thousands of years through land and sea management practices that continue today.
AELA's work is inspired by the Earth centred approaches of 'Earth jurisprudence' and by Indigenous and First Peoples' laws, culture and governance systems. AELA is committed to working in partnership with First Peoples, and Future Dreaming is one of our primary pathways of working in true collaboration.
Please visit our dedicated Future Dreaming Australia website here.
About Future Dreaming
From 2013 to 2019, AELA's Future Dreaming Program hosted a range of collaborative events and facilitated discussions between Indigenous people and non-indigenous people, about Earth centred ways of Caring for Country.
In 2019, AELA worked to auspice the creation of 'Future Dreaming Australia', a new organisation managed by Indigenous people and non-indigenous partners, to offer a space for everyone to work together, as equal partners, in a respectful spirit of cross cultural learning and sharing.
Future Dreaming's goal is to assist cross cultural understanding of Indigenous peoples' culture and practices for Caring for Country, as well as sharing information about emerging Earth centred law and governance in Western legal systems. We believe that it is only by working together that we can create unique, Earth-centred governance systems that will help us build a healthy, long-term relationship with the Earth community.
Current Future Dreaming Projects include:
Cross cultural learning and sharing
- AELA and Future Dreaming organise webinars, workshops, public talks and conferences, to enable people to connect, learn and collaborate. For information about this year's program of webinars and events, please visit our Future Dreaming website.
Publications and books
- AELA is passionate about building a future for Australia that is Earth centred, built on respect for First Nations peoples and guided by First Nations peoples' knowledge and wisdom about Caring for Country. AELA's National Convenor, Dr Michelle Maloney, is working with Mary Graham, an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Queensland and Kombumerri First Nations person, to write a book called "Future Law: How Ancient and Emerging Ecological Law Can Form a Foundation for the Future". The goal of the book is to promote First Nations wisdom in Australia and overseas, as well as show the practical possibilities of collaborative reframing of governance in Australia.
Supporting Indigenous Peoples' projects and aspirations
- AELA and Future Dreaming can provide governance support for, and ongoing capacity building support to, groups who are creating new organisations or projects and who seek legal, governance and other support.
- AELA and Future Dreaming also work with Indigenous groups interested in using western legal system approaches to better support Indigenous peoples' objectives within the western legal system. We have been inspired by the ground-breaking legal agreements created by Maori groups in New Zealand, where they have combined traditional Maori cultural obligations with western legal structures, to achieve greater recognition of cultural connections to country, and new ways of recognising the legal personhood/ rights of the natural world to exist, thrive and evolve. Find out more information about these innovative Earth governance approaches.
Past projects and events
- Workshop Series 2020 - "Connecting to Place, Caring for Country". During 2020 we hosted an online workshop series which focused on how human relationships with the living world can form a foundation for broader societal change and governance stability. By bringing together Aboriginal philosophy and law, with Western critiques of the current governance system, the workshop explored how ancient and emerging place-based approaches can offer an effective, practical, compassionate and successful future for Australia. The webinars featured Mary Graham, Adjunct Associate Professor of Philosophy at UQ and Kombumerri person, Ross Williams - a Bindal/Juru man and social activist and Dr Michelle Maloney, National Convenor of AELA.
- Peace and Stability Dialogue , November 2019 - AELA and Future Dreaming co-hosted an innovative dialogue event with UQ, led by Mary Graham, Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Queensland and Kombumerri person. Please visit the Dialogue Series webpage for more information.
- Peoples' Tribunal 2018. In October 2018, AELA hosted its second Australian Peoples' Tribunal for Community and Nature's Rights, which examined the impacts of industrial scale agriculture on First Nations food systems, Australian ecosystems and contemporary communities in Australia. The Tribunal was led by First Nations People on the Tribunal Panel, as well as experts and people speaking for country.
- Earth Arts. In June 2018, AELA hosted a 4 day Earth Arts workshop for 20 non-indigenous artists, which included a day's session with Mary Graham, to increase the understanding of First Nations culture and wisdom by non-indigenous people.
- Peoples' Tribunal 2016. In October 2016, AELA hosted the first Australian Peoples' Tribunal for Community and Nature's Rights. Tribunal Panelists included First Nations Peoples representatives Professor Irene Watson and Adjunct Associate Professor Mary Graham, and included a case presented by traditional custodians of the Mardoowarra/Fitzroy River (WA). Read more information about the Tribunal.
- In 2015, AELA interviewed indigenous custodians of the land and sea country of the Great Barrier Reef and sent a 10 minute video showing indigenous concerns about the Reef to the International Rights of Nature Tribunal which was held in conjunction with the COP21 climate negotiations in Paris. Read more about the International Tribunal.
Origins and History - Future Dreaming
From 2002 to 2007, an independent, not for profit indigenous community development organisation called ‘Future Dreaming’ ran innovative cross cultural, cultural heritage and community development projects in Central Queensland. In 2013, three of the original founders of this organisation helped create AELA’s “Future Dreaming” program: Ghungalu community leaders Marie and Margaret Kemp, and AELA’s National Convenor, Michelle Maloney.
For more information – or to share your ideas
If you would like more information about the activities planned by AELA and Future Dreaming, or you have your own ideas and projects you’d like to tell us about – please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com