• Publication Date: September 26, 2012
  • EAN: 9781862878938
  • 272 pages; 6" x 8⅝"
Filed Under: Indigenous Peoples

People on Country, Vital Landscapes, Indigenous Futures


Product Description

Over the past four decades Aboriginal people living in remote and regional Australia have been empowered by land rights and native title laws to claim back large tracts of their ancestral lands. Today the Indigenous estate covers over 20 per cent of the continent and includes areas of globally significant biodiversity and cultural value, many now declared as Indigenous Protected Areas in the National Reserve System. But none of the Indigenous estate is in its pre-colonial condition and it faces a myriad of environmental threats.

People on Country, Vital Landscapes, Indigenous Futures draws on a diversity of perspectives to document a significant social and environmental movement that is quietly gathering momentum across this vast Indigenous estate. This series of essays, drawn from an unusual collaboration between university researchers and Indigenous land owners, tells a little-known story about Aboriginal people who are living on, working on and caring for the lands and seas that they own and manage. The ongoing struggles by Indigenous people to conserve and rehabilitate the outstanding natural and cultural values of their ancestral lands deserve wide recognition and acclaim.

This book seeks to reposition Indigenous people and their caring for country activities from the margins to the very core of the growing national conversation on issues such as climate change, biodiversity loss and resource depletion. It challenges the Australian public, policy community and politicians to re-imagine the role that the Caring for Country movement, deploying a mix of western scientific and Indigenous ecological knowledge systems and techniques, must play in the proper environmental management of Australia in the 21st century.


** A short video of Garawa and Waanyi fire management in the Gulf country was released November 2013 as part of the work done by Dr Kerins with the National Environmental Research Program. They have achieved significant results in a highly challenging area.

Read Media Release…

Watch Video…


*** 2015 Peter Rawlinson Award winner: Jack Wongili Green Read more…

“Jacky Wongili Green from Borroloola in the southwest region of the Gulf of Carpentaria is the most worthy winner of the 2015 Peter Rawlinson Conservation Award. Some of Jack’s important achievements were regaining ownership of land, the forming of ranger groups, implementing management practices to avoid more vast wildfires and bringing about environmental and social changes in a remote part of Australia. Jacky has used his talent as an artist to express his concerns for the land and culture, especially at McArthur River where the mining is polluting the water and land, and also damaging sacred sites. It has taken bravery and sustained personal effort to speak out and to question government legislation affecting the region. Jacky has truly made an outstanding contribution.” – Marnie Rawlinson, Peter Rawlinson Award Presentation, ACF AGM 2015

People on country as alternate development
Jon Altman

Part 1: Researcher perspectives

Caring for Country to Working on Country
Seán Kerins

Conducting two-way ecological research
Emilie Ens

Indigenous rangers and the customary economy
Geoff Buchanan and Katherine May

Country as classroom
Bill Fogarty

North to south?
Janet Hunt

Part 2: People on country perspectives

Dhimurru wind of change
Mandaka Marika and Steve Roeger

Ranger djäma? Manymak!
Banduk Marika, Banul Munyarryun, Buwathay Munyarryun, Napunda Marawili and Wanyubi Marika
Facilitated by Seán Kerins

A long walk home to Warddewardde
Peter Cooke

Countrymen standing together
Victor Rostron, Wesley Campion and Ivan Namarnyilk
Facilitated by Bill Fogarty

Commitment to our country
Cherry Daniels, Edna Nelson, Julie Roy and Priscilla Dixon
With Emilie Ens and Gillian Towler

No more yardin’ us up like cattle
Jack Green and Jimmy Morrison
Facilitated by Seán Kerins

Reconnecting with culture for future generations
Tanya Patterson
Facilitated by Janet Hunt

Indigenous futures on country
Jon Altman

Appendix 1 The People on Country project
Elisabeth Yarbakhsh

Appendix 2 Engaging the state
Seán Kerins and Elisabeth Yarbakhsh


The book is a powerful and timely statement by experienced researchers and their Indigenous partners that policy makers should wake up to the fact that many Aboriginal people continue to hold their country dear despite the difficulties, and that their gritty insistence to stay involved with it entails, among a variety of beneficial aspects, a service with important social, ecological and economic potential. Read full review… – Kim de Rijke, The Australian Journal of Anthropology, 2013

Those looking for insights into the diversity and significance of contemporary Indigenous land management (and its collaborators), new ideas and theoretical framings and policy suggestions about how to enhance such activity will find what they are looking for. Read full review… – Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology, May 2013

The book is a vital platform for the view-points of people on the ground, or People on Country, a country which they all are worried is becoming orphaned of its human family, due to current and foreseeable Indigenous policy. Read full review… – Arena, April-May 2013

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