Ms Dale Sutherland

Research and Engagement Officer 

Dip.Teach; BA – Double Major; Masters of Social Science

Dale Sutherland is a member of the Nganduwal  / Minjungbal people of the Bundjalung nation which centres around the Tweed Valley and coast of far northern NSW.

Dale originally moved to Canberra to participate in the Australian Government’s Graduate Administrative Assistant Program (GAA) in the Department of Health, Housing and Community Services, prior to moving to the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS).

Dale spent over ten years working in the research section of the AIATSIS in the area of education and contemporary issues, working on a range of research projects including the Concept Study for the establishment of the Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre.  Whilst at AIATSIS Dale completed both a Bachelor of Arts through the University of New England; and a Masters of Social Science research degree which examined Aboriginal leadership and how it manifests in an urban Aboriginal community, through the University of Newcastle. Prior to moving the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR) at ANU, where she undertook further research on education and training.

Dale has extensive experience working in both the Commonwealth and State/Territory public sector, developing and implementing high level Indigenous education policy and development.

Just prior to moving to AIGI, Dale was part of the small AIATSIS team responsible for delivering the Referendum Council’s constitutional reform consultation and engagement process.  This comprised the organisation a number of key Leaders’ meetings; 12 First Nations Regional Dialogues across Australia; and the National Constitutional Convention convened at Uluru.

Miss Marie Dennis

Training and Development Officer  

Marie is a Birri Gubba woman from Ayr, North Queensland.

Marie has extensive experience working with Federal Government and Not for Profit community organisations.

Marie has previously worked with Department of Human Services for 17 years, then worked in a number of Not for Profit Organisations, Training along with her own Personal consultancy.

Leading up to her move to AIGI, Marie was employed in a various number of training and program development positions including work increasing the capacity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, supporting them to strengthen their skills to bring about change.

A current member of the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation Alumni, Marie is in the final years of completing her Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Community Servicing, Sociology and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies.

Ms Lara Drieberg

Research and Project Officer

BA (Psychology and Cultural Studies); Master of Development Studies

Lara Drieberg was offered a position at the Australian Indigenous Governance Institute (AIGI) upon completion of an internship placement through the competitive Aurora Project Internship Program in 2014. At the (then newly established) Institute, she worked with a small team of staff to secure funding and partnerships, and to develop organisational activities.

She was appointed Visiting Scholar by the National Centre for Indigenous Studies at the Australian National University in 2016 to promote research collaboration between the institutions.

In 2018 Lara completed a Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (CELTA) and spent 1 year teaching English in Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan.

She is currently working as the Research and Project Officer at AIGI.


Miss Shikierra Thorne

Executive Assistant/ Office Manager 

Shikierra Thorne is a member of the Kuku-yulinji and Kamilaroi tribes. Born in Canberra and finished her schooling in Townsville. She has worked in Hospitality for over 7 years and has completed a certificate 3 in business with the Townsville City Council CityLibraries department in 2015 and a certificate 4 in Indigenous Leadership in 2018 with Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre (AILC). Shikierra has worked in the Event industry as well gaining experience in managing programs for 5 years. Shikierra is currently working as the Executive Assistant to Michelle Deshong and is the Office manager for the AIGI office.


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