Systems, Self, and Sovereignty: Non-Indigenous Practitioners Negotiate Whiteness in Aboriginal Partnerships

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Searle, Tania L
Mulholland, Monique
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University of Western Ontario
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Australia is built upon a foundation of colonial conquest, and it continues to implement government policies and systems of management based on a colonising logic and the denial of Indigenous sovereignty. This study employed qualitative methods and discourse analysis to draw on the experiences of six non-Indigenous Australians employed by the South Australian Government in Aboriginal partnerships and natural resource management. Drawing on critical Whiteness studies, the article reveals that participants in this cohort are largely critical of colonial structures of government and the inequalities that arise. Despite this critical awareness, there was often a difficulty in finding a language to describe the fog of Whiteness, along with the tendency to describe ecological knowledge at the expense of more complex issues of First Nations sovereignty.
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Whiteness, natural resource management, First Nations or Indigenous, government partnerships, decolonisation
Searle, T. L. & Mulholland, M. (2018). Systems, Self, and Sovereignty: Non-Indigenous Practitioners Negotiate Whiteness in Aboriginal Partnerships.The International Indigenous Policy Journal, 9(1), art. 5. .