Role of Rangers in the Thamarrurr region

Project: HDR ProjectMasters by Research

Project Details

Description

Indigenous ranger programs are increasingly being recognised as successful models for land management and community development, providing meaningful employment that embraces cultural knowledge and aspirations with scientific, environmental and conservation goals. With increasing recognition, success and funding comes more expectations from external agencies about work priorities, what needs doing, and the role of rangers.
External perspectives of what is needed, what problems need fixing, may not be what Indigenous landowners see as priorities. Issues like feral buffalo, late season fires, hunting marine mammals may be a ‘problem’ from a western conservation perspective, but it cannot be assumed landowners share these as priorities.
Western conservation often takes an ‘outside looking in’ approach. Environmental assessment, and resulting management plans, are based on quantifiable indicators such as areas burnt or weedy, population numbers of threatened species or ferals, water quality. Built into such an approach are layers of assumptions about the world and relationships; the idea that elements of the environment are separated from people, can be universally generalised, mapped, counted. The end justifies the means. Processes are not always recognised as central to outcomes and change regularly with policy, funding, staff. Landowner perspectives, governance, authorities are only recognised where they fit a western worldview.
My Masters research explores narratives and perspectives from rangers and elders of the Thamarrurr region to gain insights into their practices and priorities for living on Country, and what they see as the role of rangers to support traditional knowledge systems and build capacity to meet emerging challenges.
StatusActive
Effective start/end date1/08/16 → …