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Anne Poelina, a Nyikina Warrwa woman who belongs to the Mardoowarra — the lower Fitzroy River in the Kimberley region of Western Australia– is an active Indigenous community leader, human and earth rights advocate, filmmaker and researcher.

Anne’s current work explores First Law and its pathway into legal pluralism, her global writings on ‘Voicing Rivers’, with the Martuwarra (Fitzroy River) as author, champions ancestral personhood beyond nature-based earth rights. Anne holds that everything is place-based and exists within a commonwealth and global framework of bioregions — this is the law of the land. 

Anne is part-time Professor and Senior Research Fellow with Notre Dame University and a Research Fellow with Northern Institute, Charles Darwin University, and a Visiting Fellow with the Water Justice Hub, Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University, where she’s researching Indigenous water valuation and resilient decision-making.  

Anne’s second Doctor of Philosophy (First Law) is titled, ‘Martuwarra First Law Multi-Species Justice Declaration of Interdependence: Wellbeing of Land, Living Waters, and Indigenous Australian People’, her earlier Doctor of Philosophy (Health Science) focused on the ‘Cultural Determinants of Indigenous Health and Wellbeing’. Anne also completed a Master of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Master of Education, and a Master of Arts (Indigenous Social Policy).

She is a 2011 Peter Cullen Fellow for Water Leadership, a signatory to the Redstone Statement that she helped draft at the 1st International Summit on Indigenous Environmental Philosophy in 2010, and the Inaugural Chair of the National First Peoples Water Engagement Council in 2011. The same year she was elected to the Broome Shire Council and became Deputy Shire President in her first term of office. In 2017, she was awarded a Laureate from the Women’s World Summit Foundation (Geneva) and in 2018 was elected Chair of the Martuwarra Fitzroy River Council.

Anne Poelina is an IPCS Visiting Fellow for 2022.

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