Contrasting Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Ways of Thinking about Capacity Building for Achieving Sustainable Development

Ram Vemuri

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    This chapter examines the way values shape management of development. It is based on my understanding and observations, as a non-Indigenous participant, of Indigenous and non-Indigenous interactions attempting to manage environments while pursuing sustainable development goals. Over 20 years of experience in observing and taking part in interactions between Indigenous and non-Indigenous participants in projects from the Northern Territory of Australia provided me with the opportunity to learn from these experiences. Two cases in this chapter illustrate these interactions. The dynamics of engaging in projects underpinning the cases has led me to believe that Indigenous values exhibit a development ethic of either working with what people have, or not working at all because they have very little to work with. They do not strategically position themselves and their societies to pursue what they do not have. In contrast, the non-Indigenous use their skills to extend their reach and work towards what they do not have. This is fundamentally because Indigenous values stem from an ethos of managing scarcity, while the mainstream is overly concerned with identifying the best strategy for achieving management goals. The chapter constructs a view that, in the new era of environmental scarcity, management education should include capacity building based on Indigenous approaches to sustainable development.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationIndigenous people and economic development
    Subtitle of host publicationAn International Perspective
    EditorsKatia Iankova, Azizul Hassan, Rachel L'Abbe
    Number of pages18
    ISBN (Electronic)9781315588346
    ISBN (Print)9781472434852
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


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