Sustainability, Being, and Reconciliation: Decolonizing Nature and the Australian Imaginary translation missing: zh.hyrax.visibility.files_restricted.text

Kaufman, Kristen (Spring 2019)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/qv33rx71h?locale=zh
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Abstract

The Australian state has implemented intercultural initiatives to include Indigenous ecological knowledges and practices in its natural resource management programming and policies, a practice which is becoming increasingly widespread at an international scale due to the value of Indigenous knowledges and practices in cultivating sustainability. In addition to seeking ecological conservation, intercultural management projects are also meant to deliver upon the Government’s initiative to Closing the Gap on Indigenous disadvantage. Successful contemporary intercultural land management programs have potential to contribute to a holistic sustainability that includes decolonization of land, people, history, and state.  

In this research, I pose the question: To what extent do Australia’s programs and policies on natural resource management embody interculturalism and cultivate a holistically sustainable system? In attempting to understand programmatic outcomes within the larger purpose and implications of intercultural land management practices in Australia, I first engage with Australian history and national identity formation as well as decolonization theory to create a framework for analysis. I then perform content analysis for five case studies using government policies, programs, program assessments, and projects. 

Analysis of program rhetoric, strategy, representation, and outcomes indicates that while programs and projects have made significant progress over time in moving towards a holistic sustainability, utilization of western epistemological science in setting goals and methods in top-down program planning can discourage genuine Indigenous participation and can prevent cross-cultural natural resource management grounded in Indigenous governance. Additionally, disconnections between policy and program priorities in reconciliation and natural resource management at the local, regional, and national scales of governance can prevent a productive conceptualization of sustainability that operationalizes parameters for genuine cross-cultural engagement. Finally, while regionally and locally scaled sub-programs that directly prioritize cross-cultural Indigenous land management, including Indigenous Protected Areas and Working on Country, have yielded holistically sustainable results, hesitancies due to violent historical relationships and lack of Indigenous autonomy in setting project priorities can be a roadblock in fostering the comfort necessary for intercultural engagement. 

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Setting the Stage

Introduction……………………………………………………….…........….….….1

Positionality………………………………………………………….………..........10

The Problem with Language………………………………………………....….14

Chapter 2: Constructing a Narrative

History and Building a Nation……………………....…………………..….…..20

Indigenous Ecological Knowledges and Practices……….…………...…….31

Indigenous Land Rights, Management, and Policy……….………….........40

Chapter 3: Reconciling Ideas

Frameworks for Interculturalism and Decolonization………...…...........49

Methods…………………………………………..………………….…..………......65

Data Overview…………………………………………………………….…..........72

Chapter 4: Seeking Collaboration

Caring for Our Country…….………………………………………......…….......74

National Landcare Program Phase One…………………….…….…….....….93

National Landcare Program Phase Two……………………..……….……....105

Regional NRMs……………………………………………..………....................117

Working on Country…….……………………………….……….…......…..…...132

Chapter 5: Closing Thoughts…….………………….…………….....……......151

Appendices…………………………………………..…………………....….…..…158

References Cited……………………………………..………………....………....173

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