Researching on Ngarrindjeri Ruwe/Ruwar: Methodologies for Positive Transformation

Steven Hemming, Daryle Rigney, Shaun Berg

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    11 Citations (Scopus)


    Ngarrindjeri engagement with cultural and natural resource management over the past decade provides a useful case study for examining the relationship between research, colonialism and improved Indigenous wellbeing. The Ngarrindjeri nation is located in south-eastern Australia, a 'white' space framed by Aboriginalist myths of cultural extinction recycled through burgeoning heritage, Native Title, natural resource management 'industries'. Research is a central element of this network of intrusive interests and colonising practices. Government management regimes such as natural resource management draw upon the research and business sectors to form complex alliances to access funds to support their research, monitoring, policy development, management and on-ground works programs. We argue that understanding the political and ethical location of research in this contemporary management landscape is crucial to any assessment of the potential positive contribution of research to 'Bridging the Gap' or improving Indigenous wellbeing. Recognition that research conducted on Ngarrindjeri Ruwe/Ruwar (country/body/ spirit) has impacts on Ngarrindjeri and that Ngarrindjeri have a right and responsibility to care for their lands and waters are important platforms for any just or ethical research. Ngarrindjeri have linked these rights and responsibilities to longterm community development focused on Ngarrindjeri capacity building and shifts in Ngarrindjeri power in programs designed to research and manage Ngarrindjeri Ruwe/Ruwar. Research agreements that protect Ngarrindjeri interests, including cultural knowledge and intellectual property, are crucial elements in these shifts in power.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)92-106
    Number of pages15
    JournalAustralian Aboriginal Studies
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


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