Governing Country: A Literature Review of Indigenous Governance Principles in Indigenous Ranger Groups & Indigenous Protected Areas

Author/editor: Bellchambers, K
Year published: 2023
Issue no.: 303


This paper reports on a literature review of Indigenous governance principles and practices in Indigenous Ranger groups and Indigenous Protected Areas. While existing scholarship has explored the policy frameworks and benefits associated with these programs, there has been less assessment of how Indigenous people govern these initiatives on the ground. I draw on methods of systematic literature review to identify relevant scholarship over the last 40 years and analyse this material using a conceptual framework of Indigenous governance principles. I found that all nine of the defined Indigenous governance principles were evident in the scholarship, often intersecting and overlapping to produce compounding governance strengths. This paper also maps the indicative locations, type of host organisation, and primary funding source for current Indigenous Ranger groups and Indigenous Protected Areas across Australia. This literature review illustrates the infinite potential to care for diverse landscapes, as well as foster Indigenous leadership, governance, and self-determined development, through investment in Indigenous Country governance. I argue that such investment must recognise and actively support the Indigenous governance principles at the heart of these initiatives and their success.

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