Indigenous knowledge and governance in protected areas in Australia and Sweden

Talbot, Leah Dawn (2017) Indigenous knowledge and governance in protected areas in Australia and Sweden. PhD thesis, James Cook University.

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Indigenous peoples live in, manage and own large areas of land that are often rich in biodiversity. Their management is based on Indigenous knowledge systems that have sustained their societies over millennia, and carry insights critical for sustainability. Indigenous peoples and communities across the world maintain traditional and cultural connections amongst and within their own societies, and to their traditional lands. Many of these connections support Indigenous ways of life, identity and cultural belief systems that form the basis of knowledge systems. Indigenous people's governance systems influence the application of Indigenous knowledge, and therefore the management of landscapes, including protected areas. For protected areas, the cornerstone of biodiversity conservation, understanding how Indigenous knowledge is recognised and supported by Indigenous governance is vital. Therefore, this research examines the conditions under which Indigenous governance systems recognise and support the application of Indigenous knowledge, through a comparative analysis between two world heritage areas, one in Australia and one in Sweden. Analysis of different concepts of Indigenous knowledge and models of Indigenous governance systems, within Australia and Sweden, is central to addressing key policy and practice issues in Indigenous land management for biodiversity conservation outcomes.

Furthermore, investigation of the interrelationship between Indigenous governance and Indigenous knowledge, through an Indigenous lens, focusing on Indigenous epistemology, ontology and worldview, provides Indigenous perspectives and insights. The research also embeds me, an Aboriginal woman from the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, in the research, allowing incorporation of critical understandings and perspectives that reflect Indigenous lived and shared experiences. I developed an 'Empowering Indigenous Lens' methodology, embedding Indigenous worldviews, ontologies and epistemologies to undertake this research. The Empowering Indigenous Lens recognises Indigenous knowledges in a place-based context, so emphasis can be drawn from the shared lives, experiences and knowledges of the Indigenous peoples from that place, informing and influencing the methodology. Practical application of the Empowering Indigenous Lens methodology is guided by its "Walking Together" approach. Five key stages to the "Walking Together" approach include: invitation; conversation and interview; analysis; feedback; and reinterpretation. This approach reflects fundamental Indigenous cultural protocols of 'giving back' to Indigenous peoples and communities. Further, the practice of shared experiences through "Walking Together" remains in effect throughout the research process, therefore implementing the Empowering Indigenous Lens. To enable effective application of the Indigenous lens, a case study methodology was adopted. A case approach best supported this research as it supports culturally-sensitive investigation of contemporary phenomena within a real-world context. Qualitative data collection methods and analysis based on interviews, documentary analysis and context mapping underpin the case study approach.

The comparative analysis identified the nexus between Indigenous governance systems and three major influences on Indigenous knowledge application. These include: Indigenous Peoples' arrangements to express sovereignty of governance; arrangements of nation-state sovereignty that support and/or influence Indigenous Peoples' governance; and shared governance arrangements. Indigenous Peoples' sovereignty of governance in turn depends on conditions that enable Indigenous self-determination, empowerment and leadership. This research, and its Indigenous methodology, highlights previously invisible aspects of governance that support Indigenous knowledge application in protected areas, and carry implications for management and research.

Item ID: 52049
Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Aboriginal knowledge, cultural ecosystem services, environmental knowledge, environmental management, Indigenous knowledge, Indigenous peoples, protected areas, Queensland, rainforest aboriginal people, Sámi, Scandinavia, traditional owners, Wet Tropics
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Publications arising from this thesis are available from the Related URLs field. The publications are:

Chapter 3: Pert, Petina L., Hill, Rosemary, Maclean, Kirsten, Dale, Allan, Rist, Phil, Schmider, Joann, Talbot, Leah, and Tawake, Lavenie (2015) Mapping cultural ecosystem services with rainforest aboriginal peoples: integrating biocultural diversity, governance and social variation. Ecosystem Services, 13. pp. 41-56.

Chapter 4: Hill, Rosemary, Pert, Petina, Maclean, Kirsten, Bauman, Toni, Brock, Ellie, Dale, Allan, Flynn, M'Lis, Joyce, Alf, McDermott, Steve, Mundraby, Vince, Rist, Phil, Rampton, Bruce, Schmider, Joann, Talbot, Leah, and Tawake, Lavenie (2014) Indigenous peoples and biodiversity protection in wet tropics country: from co-management to collaborative governance. volume 2 participatory evaluation results. Report. Reef and Rainforest Research Centre, Cairns, QLD, Australia.

Date Deposited: 17 Jan 2018 22:57
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050201 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Environmental Knowledge @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9606 Environmental and Natural Resource Evaluation > 960604 Environmental Management Systems @ 50%
95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9503 Heritage > 950302 Conserving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage @ 50%
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