ECU researcher, Jesse John Fleay is passionate about driving social change for the improvement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and all Australians. In his short academic career, Jesse has already been involved in several landmark social change initiatives including drafting the Uluru Statement which calls on reform to Australia’s federal parliament around three key elements: enshrining a First Nations Voice in the constitution; establishment of a Makarrata Commission to supervise agreement making; and overseeing a process of truth-telling about Australia’s colonisation. At ECU’s Kurongkurl Katitjin, Jesse is continuing his research into social change by focussing on constitutional studies, human rights, history, politics, public health, international relations, and the arts.
Jesse’s journey began as a student at ECU where he was an inaugural member of the Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). For the past decade, Jesse has been leading change in frontline community research in regional and remote Western Australia, Northern Territory, and Queensland, serving many positions within the Republic Movement and associated groups.
Jesse’s work on the Uluru Statement from the Heart, and delegation to Australian Republic positions, has inspired him to create a model for significant social reform and constitutional change, that affects the immediate future of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and all Australians. Over time, this research has influenced WA State policy with the goal of making changes in organisational approaches with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, to a self-governance and sovereignty partnership model.
When asked what advice Jesse would give to ECU researchers thinking about conducting research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities, he advised; “Always work alongside with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and only ever focus on their sovereignty, decisions, and self-determination. Leave criticism, and colonial mindset at the door, and do your part to respect, and learn from, the oldest continuing people and traditions in the world.”
“I would like to acknowledge Dr Mick Adams, who has provided significant personal and professional support in developing me as a researcher, and a healthy, stronger leader in my own life. He is the kind of role model I wish every Aboriginal male had in their lives. ECU has developed me from a student, to a professional academic, a leader, and a recording artist.”
ECU is fortunate to have many Academic staff with an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background, who can provide insight into culturally appropriate conduct and protocols for community consultation. These members of staff can provide advice on how to approach community consultation or seek advice from a senior member of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community organisation.
For advice on who may be able to assist you in developing and refining your research at Kurongkurl Katitjin, contact ECU Research Services.
Please leave a comment about your rating so we can better understand how we might improve the page.