16 research outputs found

    Aboriginal community governance on the frontlines and faultlines in the Black Summer bushfires

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    The 2019-20 ‘Black Summer’ bushfires were unprecedented in their size, scale and devastation. It was widely acknowledged that the bushfires disproportionally impacted Aboriginal people both in terms of the population of people affected, and the deep impact felt as people connected to the land. Yet at the height of the crisis, stories emerged of culturally unsafe and unwelcoming relief and recovery services, as well as the uneven responses of emergency services to safeguard and protect cultural heritage. The rupturing of these demographic faultlines exposed Aboriginal people to additional risk and created a distinct Aboriginal experience within the larger bushfire catastrophe. In response, Aboriginal communities and their organisations rallied, evacuating community members, providing immediate relief and support to communities and families affected, and taking their own steps to protect their cultural and heritage values. This paper brings together these stories, captured through various media articles, reports, submissions and testimony, synthesising the common experiences of Aboriginal peoples and the response of their communities and organisations. It draws attention to deep constitutions of strength and resilience embedded within Aboriginal communities, whilst highlighting the trust deficit now engendered between Aboriginal people and relief and recovery agencies. It finishes by reaffirming importance of community-controlled and representative Aboriginal organisations in emergency management, response, and recovery in future disasters

    Indigenous peoples and natural hazard research, policy and practice in southern temperate Australia : an agenda for change

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    Engaging with Indigenous peoples is clearly on the agenda of natural hazard leaders in southern Australia, but there is very little research, policy or practical experience to support this work. Indeed, with a few important exceptions, natural hazard organisations and research institutions have had little engagement with Indigenous peoples, their organisations or research priorities or protocols. While there are substantial gaps in the research evidence, it is important to start identifying the issues at hand and consider what might be done in response. This paper provides a brief overview of the fraught relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Australia and some common misunderstandings. The paper includes specific suggestions for current research, policy and practice, noting that natural hazard agencies and research institutions are influential and closely related. It is clear there are challenges. However, changing practice is essential to foster more respectful terms between Indigenous peoples and Australia’s natural hazard and emergency management sector

    Indigenous electoral power in the 2022 federal election: a geographic snapshot of latent potential

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    Comprising only 3.3% of the Australian population, Indigenous people are often assumed to have limited electoral power outside of the remote Northern Territory. This short paper reveals the geography of the Indigenous population focusing on federal electoral divisions where the Indigenous population is significant, not in absolute terms, but in relation to the vote margins in the 2019 federal election. It describes a geography of electoral divisions where the Indigenous population is large in comparison to electoral margins, including in divisions beyond remote Australia. It suggests that Indigenous communities could wield significant electoral power if they mobilised the large cohort of non-participating eligible Indigenous vote. This currently latent electoral power may assist Indigenous communities to lobby for policy changes

    Cultural Burning in NSW: Challenges and Opportunities for Policy Makers and Aboriginal Peoples

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    The Independent Inquiry into the NSW experience of the 2019-20 summer bushfires revealed that in NSW, Aboriginal people have not been adequately supported to pursue cultural land management opportunities, including cultural burning. The NSW Government accepted all recommendations from the Inquiry, generating a strategic opportunity for Aboriginal people in NSW to re-establish cultural land management activities and cultural burning. Drawing on the history of Caring for Country in northern and central Australia, and current developments to support Aboriginal people in southern temperate Australia, this paper maps the challenges and opportunities to support cultural land management programs in NSW. It considers what next for cultural burning in NSW, by delving into the current governance arrangements in NSW Aboriginal communities and organisational cultures of NSW government agencies. This reveals that much more must be done to confront historical issues of land justice and marginalisation. The paper also draws on the strengths of Aboriginal people to map ways forward to support the resurgence of cultural land management and in particular, cultural burning in NSW

    Aboriginal community governance in the Black Summer bushfires [Seminar]

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    The 2019-20 ‘Black Summer’ Bushfires were unprecedented in their size, scale and devastation. It was widely acknowledged that the bushfires disproportionally impacted Aboriginal people both in terms of the population of people affected, and the deep impact felt as people connected to the land. Yet at the height of the crisis, stories emerged of culturally unsafe and unwelcoming relief and recovery services, as well as the uneven responses of emergency services to safeguard and protect cultural heritage. In response, Aboriginal communities and their organisations rallied, evacuating community members, providing immediate relief and support to communities and families affected, and taking their own steps to protect their cultural and heritage values. This seminar draws together these stories, captured through various media articles, reports, submissions and testimony, analysing the common experiences of Aboriginal peoples and the response of their communities and organisations. It highlights the intrinsic strengths within Aboriginal communities and the importance of community-controlled and representative Aboriginal organisations in emergency management, response and recovery

    What do young fellas reckon? Exploring the experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth in native title

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    Registered native title bodies corporate (PBCs) are responsible for protecting and managing native title rights and interests on behalf of the native title group. PBCs conduct the chosen activities of the group and also act as the first contact point for government and other parties wishing to undertake activities on native title lands. Succession planning and knowledge transmission are integral to the long-term sustainability of those organisations and the native title system. A key aspect of effective succession planning is engaging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth in the business of native title. The research informing this paper engaged directly with young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people about their experiences of native title. This paper reveals a number of emerging issues for the native title sector and related fields such as governance, land and water management, and the wider community sector. Key insights in this paper include the evolving ways in which connections to country and culture are being experienced; the importance of active and ongoing support and mentorship; and the need for improved access to native title knowledge and information

    Indigenous electoral power in the 2022 federal election: A geographic snapshot of latent potential

    No full text
    Comprising only 3.3% of the Australian population, Indigenous people are often assumed to have limited electoral power outside of the remote Northern Territory. This short paper reveals the geography of the Indigenous population focusing on federal electoral divisions where the Indigenous population is significant, not in absolute terms, but in relation to the vote margins in the 2019 federal election. It describes a geography of electoral divisions where the Indigenous population is large in comparison to electoral margins, including in divisions beyond remote Australia. It suggests that Indigenous communities could wield significant electoral power if they mobilised the large cohort of non-participating eligible Indigenous vote. This currently latent electoral power may assist Indigenous communities to lobby for policy changes

    Strength from perpetual grief: how Aboriginal people experience the bushfire crisis

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    How do you support people forever attached to a landscape after an inferno tears through their homelands: decimating native food sources, burning through ancient scarred trees and destroying ancestral and totemic plants and animals? The fact is, the experience of Aboriginal peoples in the fire crisis engulfing much of Australia is vastly different to non-Indigenous peoples. Colonial legacies of eradication, dispossession, assimilation and racism continue to impact the lived realities of Aboriginal peoples. Added to this is the widespread exclusion of our peoples from accessing and managing traditional homelands. These factors compound the trauma of these unprecedented fires. As Australia picks up the pieces from these fires, it\u27s more important than ever to understand the unique grief Aboriginal peoples experience. Only through this understanding can effective strategies be put in place to support our communities to recover

    Aboriginal peoples and the response to the 2019–2020 bushfires

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    Aboriginal people were among those most affected by the 2019–2020 bushfires in south-eastern Australia. Yet aside from renewed public interest in cultural burning practices, Aboriginal people have received little attention in the post-bushfire response. In this paper, we describe population geography of Aboriginal peoples affected by the 2019–2020 bushfire season in New South Wales and Victoria, and the geography of Aboriginal legal rights and interests in land across these states. We find that over 84 000 Indigenous people, or one-quarter of the Indigenous population of NSW and Victoria, live in the bushfire-affected area. While Indigenous people comprise nearly 5.4% of the 1.55 million people living in fire-affected areas, they are only 2.3% of the total population of NSW and Victoria. Because Indigenous people in the bushfire-affected area have younger population profiles, more than one-tenth of children in the bushfire-affected area are Indigenous, raising the diverse effects of bushfires on infants and children in particular. Aboriginal people also have a variety of distinct and spatially extensive legal rights and interests in land as First Peoples, including across much of the fire-affected area. Presenting a series of quotations from published accounts, we demonstrate that the Aboriginal experience of the 2019–2020 bushfires have been different from those of non-Indigenous Australians. We go on to show that despite the presence of Aboriginal people and Aboriginal legal rights across the fire-affected area and the distinctiveness of the Aboriginal experience of bushfire disaster, Aboriginal peoples have been marginalised in recent previous public responses to bushfires. Taking the reports of two post-disaster inquires as exemplary, we show that Aboriginal peoples have largely been ignored in these important fact-finding and policymaking forums. We conclude by arguing that the response to the 2019–2020 bushfires must be different. We call for governments to acknowledge the erasure of Aboriginal people in previous bushfire disaster responses; to establis

    Aboriginal people find strength despite perpetual grief

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    How do you support people forever attached to a landscape after an inferno tears through their homelands? The latest fires decimated native food sources, burned through ancient scarred trees, and destroyed ancestral and totemic plants and animals. The fact is, the experience of Aboriginal peoples in the fire crisis engulfing much of Australia is vastly different to that of non-Indigenous peoples
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