About Us

We believe Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities should and can have all the necessary ingredients to self-determine our own futures, and protect our country.

Original Power is a small community-focused organisation that aims to build the power of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through collective action.

Original Power provides strategic advice and campaign support, builds skills, and connects communities to resources.


ORIGINAL POWER BOARD:

Karrina Nolan is descendant of the Yorta Yorta people in Victoria. She’s worked as an organiser, strategist, campaigner, facilitator, lobbyist and hip hop wrangler alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, young people and communities for over 25 years. She’s led programs and campaigns on women’s rights, globalisation and environmental justice with a focus on First Nations peoples. She has most recently been working with communities fighting for land justice and for the protection of country. Karrina has been building the power of her mob working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities building up capacity for self-determination in the context of mining, economic development and climate change. Her work has focussed on supporting communities’ capacity to organise, act decisively, share knowledge and make informed decisions that take into account long-term community needs as well as country and culture.

Karrina is the Executive Director of Original Power.


Sharon Ford is a descendant of the Wangan and Jagalingou People of Central Queensland. Through personal and professional experiences, Sharon has developed a thorough understanding of the challenges our people face in protecting community interests and establishing effective and functional self-governing communities. Sharon is an Indigenous Governance and Management Consultant with over 20 years’ experience working with Indigenous Corporations, including nearly a decade of experience in the Native Title Industry. Sharon is passionate about empowering Aboriginal people to to exercise our right to make decisions that affect our families, cultures and country.


Tony Birch is an academic, author, educator and researcher. His research interests centre on climate justice and indigenous knowledge systems. Dr Birch’s books include Shadowboxing (2006), Father's Day(2009), Blood (2011), The Promise (2014) and Ghost River (2015), which won the 2016 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Indigenous Writing. Tony is a frequent contributor to ABC local and national radio, and a regular guest at writers’ festivals. He lives in Melbourne and is a Senior Research Fellow at Victoria University.


Jon Altman is emeritus professor at the Australian National University in the School of Regulation and Global Governance. Jon established the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research at the ANU in 1990 and led it as foundation director for 20 years. Jon’s focus has been on enabling forms of lifeway practice that advocates for the need to recognise the right of Indigenous peoples to live differently, while simultaneously ensuring equality of treatment as Australian citizens. Jon has written on a wide range of issues including land rights and native title, appropriate forms of economic development, Indigenous communities and mining, tourism and the arts and the homelands movement.


Alex Kelly is a settler Australian filmmaker and communications strategist based in Mparntwe, Arrernte country.  Alex worked for ten years with Big hART across many projects including being the Creative Producer of Ngapartji Ngapartji. Alex’s documentary film credits include producing Island of the Hungry Ghosts, THE ISLAND, Nothing Rhymes with Ngapartji and co-producing The Namatjira Project production managing Coniston: Telling it True and directing Queen of the Desert. From 2014-2016 Alex was the Global Impact & Distribution Producer on Avi Lewis and Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything project.


Lara Watson is a Birri Gubba woman from Central West Queensland and the Indigenous officer with the ACTU.  She has been involved with the Trade Union movement for almost 15 years, starting as a workplace delegate and moving into community campaigning as a Yr@w co-ordinator.  She ran the anti-privatisation campaign ‘Not4Sale’ in Queensland, and worked on numerous Indigenous campaigns, including the fight for Muckaty, Queensland Stolen Wages, the NT Intervention. She is currently running the ‘Wage Justice’ campaign for Community Development Workers in remote communities through the First Nations Workers Alliance.

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