Emeritus Professor MaryAnn Bin-Sallik AO has played a monumental role in the advancement of Aboriginal studies. She has been part of government committees of inquiry into Aboriginal employment; discrimination in employment; and the forced removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
Professor Bin-Sallik spent 17 years in the health care sector. She was the first Aboriginal resident of Darwin to graduate as a nurse and then became first Indigenous worker in Australian higher education. She was the first Indigenous Australian to earn a doctorate from Harvard University in Boston, and that passion for education brought her back to Australia where she was appointed Senior Lecturer in Aboriginal Studies at the South Australian College of Advanced Education. She became Head of the School of Aboriginal Studies and Teacher Education at the University of South Australia in 1990.
She has been an active researcher into contemporary Aboriginal identity in Broome and Darwin and the influences of Asian migration in those areas. She has continued her advocacy for Indigenous participation in higher education and has served on numerous national and state committees.
She has been a member of the National Population Council, and the Council of the Institute of Aboriginal Studies (now the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies). She was a Co-Commissioner for the Human Rights Commissions' Enquiry into the Forced Removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children. In 2016 she was named as the National Aborigines Day Observance Committee - NAIDOC’S - female Elder of the year. In the Australia Day Awards early in 2017 Emeritus Professor MaryAnn Bin-Sallik was awarded an Order of Australia for her passion for education and for the participation of Aboriginal people in that education.