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Country, Native Title and Ecology

Country, Native Title and Ecology

Edited by Jessica K Weir
Volume: 24
Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: ANU Press
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  • Book Info
    Country, Native Title and Ecology
    Book Description:

    Country, native title and ecology all converge in this volume to describe the dynamic intercultural context of land and water management on Indigenous lands. Indigenous people's relationships with country are discussed from various speaking positions, including identity and knowledge, the homelands debate, water planning, climate change and market environmentalism. The inter-disciplinary chapters range from an ethnographic description of living waters in the Great Sandy Desert, negotiating the eradication of yellow crazy ants in Arnhem Land, and legal analysis of native title rights in emerging carbon markets. A recurrent theme is the contentions over meaning, knowledge, and authority. “Because this volume is scholarly, original and very timely it represents a key resource and reference work for land and sea managers; policy makers; scholars of the interface between post-native title responsibilities, NRM objectives and appropriate heritage protocols; and students based in the social sciences, natural sciences and humanities. It is rare for volumes to have this much cross-academy purchase and for this reason alone - it will have ongoing worth and value as a seminal collection.” - Associate Professor Peter Veth, ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences, The Australian National University. Dr Jessica Weir has published widely on water, native title and governance, and is the author of Murray River Country: An Ecological Dialogue with Traditional Owners (Aboriginal Studies Press, 2009). Jessica's work was recently included in Stephen Pincock's Best Australian Science Writing 2011. In 2011 Jessica established the AIATSIS Centre for Land and Water Research, in the Indigenous Country and Governance Research Program at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies.

    eISBN: 978-1-921862-56-4
    Subjects: Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Figures and Tables
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. List of Shortened Forms
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. Contributors
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  7. 1. Country, Native Title and Ecology
    (pp. 1-20)
    Jessica K Weir

    The overtly technical process of making a native title application has obscured one of the central reasons why Indigenous people engage with the native title system – to affirm and promote their relationships with country. This publication focuses on Indigenous peoples’ relationships with country, and seeks to discuss native title in terms that are more directly related to those relationships. In doing so, we also describe ways of living on country that inform and critique mainstream land and water management. This volume also includes case studies that are not classified as part of the native title system, so as to broaden...

  8. 2. Connections of Spirit: Kuninjku Attachments to Country
    (pp. 21-46)
    Luke Taylor

    This is the way Ivan Namirrkki, born in 1961 and a Kuninjku language speaker from western Arnhem Land, describes his attachment to his country and its waters. Namirrkki is musing on his relationship to a camping place called Wakyoy on Manggabor Creek, a tributary of the Liverpool River, that is a short walk from his outstation at Kumurrulu. In a couple of sentences he has outlined an attachment which speaks to his understanding of creation and the intrinsic bodily link between himself and the place where he is living. The country was ‘put there’ by the Ancestral beings for Namirrkki’s...

  9. 3. The Kalpurtu Water Cycle: Bringing Life to the Desert of the South West Kimberley
    (pp. 47-58)

    Water is neither a commodity nor simply an element for the Walmajari people of the Great Sandy Desert fringe. It links the people and their livelihoods directly to the creatures of myth and ritual, the Kalpurtu, who have enlivened the natural landscape since the beginning of time. This chapter lays out some of the information on the cultural importance of water which Sullivan recorded during fieldwork organised by Boxer, Bujiman and Moor during the hot dry season of October 2000. The field visits took place over a period of about one week in the vicinity of Yakanarra community, which is...

  10. 4. ‘Two Ways’: Bringing Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Knowledges Together
    (pp. 59-80)
    Samantha Muller

    For millennia, Indigenous knowledge practices have been fundamental to sustaining Indigenous livelihoods and remain important in many parts of the world. Increasingly, non-Indigenous scientists are engaging with Indigenous peoples to consider collaborative approaches to natural resource management. Often there are challenges of what Christie (2007) terms legibility, in which some elements of Indigenous knowledge are easily understood, documented and objectified by non-Indigenous scientists with other, less tangible aspects being ignored and marginalised. Berkes (1999: 12) agrees that non-Indigenous scientists ‘end to dismiss understandings that do not fit their own; this includes understandings of other [Indigenous] scientists using different paradigms’. State-funded...

  11. 5. Water Planning and Native Title: A Karajarri and Government Engagement in the West Kimberley
    (pp. 81-104)
    Jessica K Weir, Roy Stone and Mervyn Mulardy Jnr

    With prolonged drought and climate change, water has once again come into focus in national, state and territory policy development, prompting the review of water planning and management. As part of this, policy makers have revisited the complexities of establishing large-scale industrial agriculture in Australia’s tropical monsoon country (Ross, 2009). Water planning in Karajarri country in the West Kimberley of Western Australia is occurring within this context. For Karajarri, they hope that the planning process will help ensure that water is treated the ‘right way’ for country (Mulardy Jnr cited in Mathews, 2008).

    Karajarri have an important water story to...

  12. 6. Native Title and Ecology: Agreement-making in an Era of Market Environmentalism
    (pp. 105-134)
    Lee Godden

    Agreement-making, given particular impetus by the advent of native title, forms an important component in establishing a stronger presence for Indigenous peoples in ecological protection and environmental management (Tehan et al., 2006: 1–2). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders’ customary care for country clearly continues apart from such formal western structures, but of necessity must interface with non-systems (Yanner v Eaton, 1999: 76). Predominately, the settler institutions for environmental protection have been built upon an ecological perspective, but these structures and values systems are being substantially reworked through the increasing influence of market environmentalism. Historically, settler models for managing ecosystems...

  13. 7. Towards a Carbon Constrained Future: Climate Change, Emissions Trading and Indigenous Peoples’ Rights in Australia
    (pp. 135-174)
    Emily Gerrard

    Despite the turbulent evolution of climate change law and policy over recent years, the opportunities, issues and risks for Indigenous peoples arising from the use of market based mechanisms to address environmental issues remain relatively unchanged. The central theme of this paper (first drafted in 2008) also remains unchanged: the importance of early and meaningful engagement with, and respect for, Indigenous peoples and their rights, interests and knowledge in this rapidly evolving area of law and policy.

    Since the initial version of this paper in 2008, the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme has been proposed and defeated and the political landscape...