PPP Seminar - Looking Back to Look Forward: a case study of Aboriginal ranger work in NE Arnhem Land


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Presenter:  Dr Margaret Ayre, Senior Research Fellow - Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, The University of Melbourne

Date: Aug 11, 2016

Time: 2:30pm to 3:30pm

Contact person:  Northern Institute
T: 08 8946 7468
E: thenortherninstitute@cdu.edu.au

Location:  Yellow building 1, level 2, room 48, Northern Institute, CDU

Indigenous rangers play a critical role in the sustainable management of Australia’s conservation and biodiversity estate and represent a significant job sector in Indigenous communities nationally. Over the past twenty years, there has been increased government investment in supporting the burgeoning number of Indigenous ranger programs (currently estimated at 95 groups1) with the aim of achieving multiple social outcomes  and biodiversity goals enshrined in Australia’s international commitments (e.g. Convention on Biological Diversity). These Indigenous ranger programs have emerged as a key site of negotiation for Indigenous communities to practice and demonstrate their custodial rights and responsibilities for ‘country’ whilst creating education and training and employment opportunities in partnership arrangements with governments and others. In the development of such partnerships, the role of Indigenous rangers underpins the mutually productive and beneficial translation of Indigenous knowledge and practices of ‘caring for country’ and western-style land and water management.

In this seminar, I present collaborative research into a particular case of Yolngu Aboriginal ranger work through the Yolngu organization, the Dhimurru Aboriginal Corporation (Dhimurru), in North-east Arnhem Land. I report on the first stages of a collaborative project involving Dhimurru members, Yolngu land and sea managers and others which aims to identify and understand the key design principles and success factors of Dhimurru’s ranger program and its unique Yolngu Ranger role.

In this project, we consider the development of Dhimurru over the past two decades and ask:

  1. How does Yolngu ranger work contribute to achieving Yolngu aspirations for land and water management?
  2. What is the ‘value’ of Yolngu ranger work in achieving Dhimurru’s strategic goals for land and water management?

About Dr Margaret Ayre

Dr Margaret Ayre is interested in knowledge making in the context of agricultural and environmental and cultural resources management. She holds a degree in forest science and a doctorate in history and philosophy of science from the University of Melbourne. She has worked in both practical and research settings with Indigenous custodians and owners of land and sea in Arnhem Land and Tiwi Islands (Northern Territory) and other parts of Australia through her various roles as a PhD student, a postdoctoral fellow and a policy maker with the Commonwealth Government. Margaret currently works as a Senior Research Fellow in the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences and also she works as a social scientist in collaborative and transdisciplinary projects with communities facing challenges of water management, climate change and community-based land and sea management. She is interested in both understanding the impacts and opportunities of such challenges for communities, governments and industries and also in the processes of doing participatory and collaborative research itself.

Please RSVP by noon Wednesday 10 August via Outlook or thenortherninstitute@cdu.edu.au.

This presentation will be recorded and uploaded to our Vimeo  & You Tube channels