Sam Watson is from the Birri-Gubba (from his grandfather) and Munaldjali (from his grandmother) nations and currently (2007) teaches Black Australian Literature and Black Australian Politics at The University of Queensland where he is also Deputy Director of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Unit.
Watson is a well-known activist on behalf of Indigenous Australians. He studied law and arts at The University of Queensland in the early 1970s where he became increasingly engaged in Aboriginal politics. His political activism began as a student in the 1960s over the White Australia Policy. He went on to play support roles in the 1967 Referendum campaign, the Gurindji land rights struggle and other campaigns for equality and justice for Indigenous Australians.
As these were tumultuous times for Indigenous Australians, Watson decided to defer his studies in order to devote more time to Aboriginal community projects at a state, national and international level. He pioneered programs in law, medicine and housing focusing on the Indigenous communities and was notably co-founder of the Brisbane chapter of Black Panther Party of Australia with Denis Walker. He was a Socialist Alliance candidate for the Queensland Government Senate in 2001 and 2004.
As well as being a poet, activist, lecturer, writer and story teller Watson is also a film producer. His first film Black Man Down (1995) dealt with Indigenous Australians deaths in custody. It was featured in the Sand to Celluloid collection of Indigenous short films.
In February 2007, Watson made his playwriting debut with 'The Mack', which was written in association with the Brisbane-based Kooemba Jdarra theatre group and first performed at the Judith Wright Centre, Brisbane. His current (2007) project, again with Kooemba Jdarra, is 'The Oodgeroo Project', a play about the life and times of Aboriginal writer Oodgeroo Noonuccul (q.v.), also known as Kath Walker. It is due to be staged in 2009.