Wildlife Management: Country Animals & Wilderness

            Research Question

The research question selected for this investigation is the following:

How is Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s spirituality connected with the natural world, including wildlife and wilderness areas? This research question is linked to the discussion of the relationship that exists between conservation strategies and Aboriginals. These issue is important for wildlife management, including country animals and wilderness conservation.

            Introduction

Any culture is based on certain values and beliefs which affect the lives of people in different ways. The culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is no exception. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s values and beliefs are focused on a deep understanding of the natural environment  that requires integration of the spiritual with the material. This approach leads to formation of individual attitudes toward wildlife and wilderness areas. Conservation strategies have a considerable impact on the environment. Much discussion of this issue has been focused on the role of local indigenous people. It allows assessing how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are involved in conservation practices of targeted areas. Thomas E. Marler (2013) suggests that “considerable social conflicts result from authoritarian protectionist policies that ignore the local human element” (p. 266). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s spirituality is connected with the natural world, including wildlife and wilderness areas; therefore, the involvement of Indigenous people in conservation and wildlife management practices is welcomed.

            Methodology

The literature review was based on the use of a large number of valuable and reliable academic sources, including peer-reviewed articles, research studies and books that discuss the issues relevant to the identified research question. The selected data collection method allows providing analysis of the  key findings in order to draw relevant conclusions. 

            The nature of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander spirituality, kinship and connectedness with the environment

The nature of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander spirituality, kinship and connectedness with the environment has been widely discussed in the academic sources. For indigenous people living in Australia, the land is considered to be the core of their spirituality. They have shaped their identity, placing emphasis on the role of the land in their life. For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the land is part of their spirituality, while kinship is affected by the culture of indigenous communities (Rose et al., 2003). In their report, a group of researchers from the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) describe the key elements of the project funded by the NSW Biodiversity Strategy, which was launched in 1999. According to researchers, “the Biodiversity Strategy commits all government agencies to working cooperatively towards conserving the biodiversity of NSW” (Rose et al., 2003, p. 5). This report shows that the strategy developed by the government is aimed at coordination and integration of governmental agencies and local indigenous communities in conservation of biodiversity across the country. Researchers indicate the significance of totemic values in modern Aboriginal culture. Wildlife management should incorporate these values to ensure successful management of ecosystems and individual species (Rose et al., 2003).  

In fact, totemism is fostered by indigenous people to articulate a system of kinship with the natural environment. According to researchers, “totemism is expressive of a worldview in which kinship is a major basis for all life, in which the natural world and humans are participants in life processes” (Rose et al., 2003, p. 3). This fact means that these relationships are focused on the kin- related concepts of continuous solidarity, high degree of responsibility and caring.  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people demonstrate not only respect, but also ecological connectivity through their totemic activities. However, researchers notice the challenges posed by totemic laws that should be addressed by the government and Australians. At the same time, totemic laws provide opportunities for strengthening social and environmental justice that guarantees “long-term sustainable habitation within Australia’s unique and threatened environments” (Rose et al., 2003, p. 3).

In the study conducted by A. J. J. Lynch and colleagues special attention is given to the assessment of connectedness of local indigenous people with the natural environment. Researchers highlight the role of indigenous communities, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, in implementation of Australian environmental management practices. Indigenous Australian people participate in biodiversity and cultural heritage management programs, such as formalised land and sea management programs (e.g. Indigenous Protected Area program). They bear responsibility for the environmental protection activities under the Native Title Act 1993 (Cwlth) for 12.1 per cent of the country (Lynch et al., 2010, p. 245).

Peter J. Whitehead and colleagues (2008) suggest that  Indigenous people living in remote regions can develop the proper institutions that contribute significantly to the mitigation of the negative effects of pollution. National policies  should be developed to address the special needs of such communities. According to researchers, the initiatives, which involve the Indigenous community management of landscape fire are important as they help to reduce annual GHGE from savannah burning (Whitehead et al., 2008). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australiansdemonstrate their respect to the natural world thorough their engagement in conservation initiatives.

            Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ aspirations for healthy country, economies and families in relation to resource management and property rights

There are many academic sources that explore Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ aspirations for healthy country, economies and families, as well as their attitudes toward resource management practices and property rights. Bronwyn Fredericks (2013), a researcher from Office of Indigenous Engagement, Central Queensland University Australia, places emphasis on the contradictions and struggles experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people when living in urban environments. The researcher explores the symbols of place and space in the Australian cities in order to show how social, political and economic values affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. He states that the aspirations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people for healthy country, economies and families are shaped by the symbols of place and space, which can marginalise and even oppress them (Fredericks, 2013). Indigenous people want to enjoy equal rights, including property rights.

In recent report on Australian Indigenous cultural heritage, provided by the Australian government website, there is much evidence that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people keep their cultural heritage and have positive relations with the government agencies, which promote conservation. National Parks and Wildlife Service programs are developed to attract Aboriginal communities because the involvement of indigenous people in conservation of national and state parks contributes to “reconciliation, respect, recognition and cultural awareness, resolution of Native Title, training, employment and enterprise development, support for Aboriginal heritage and cooperative management of the parks and wildlife” (Australian Government. Official Website, 2017). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people recognize that national parks are significance for Aboriginal communities because they contain rock engravings and artwork. They were taught to preserve the natural environment; therefore, many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are activists of conservation initiatives (Australian Government. Official Website, 2017).

Actually, in recent study, Rosalia Schultz and Sheree Cairney (2017), highlight the impact of the identified convergence of interests in Indigenous land management practices that exists between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, non-Indigenous land managers and scientists. There is a need for recognizing the value of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s knowledge and skills to ensure successful resource management. According to researchers, “indigenous land management can maintain and improve the condition of Australia’s ecosystems, which have developed in response to people caring for their country over thousands of years” (Schultz & Cairney, 2017, p. 8). Currently, the collaboration between  government and non-government agencies, resource management agencies and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander agencies, the adoption of effective Indigenous land management programs guarantees positive outcomes for the natural environment (Schultz & Cairney, 2017). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities participate in land management initiatives in urban, rural and remote regions the country. Researchers suggest that sufficient investment in land management programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians helps to improve health, foster high level of empowerment, education opportunities, employment opportunities and enhance economic development (Schultz & Cairney, 2017).

In their study, Jonathan Kingsley and colleagues (2013) state that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ aspirations for healthy country, economies and families are assessed as improper because of the existence of inequalities in healthcare, social, economic and political fields. There is much evidence that Aboriginal and Indigenous communities correlate wellbeing with certain cultural factors, such as “social relationships, connection to Country, kinship, traditional knowledge, reciprocity, identity, accountability and physical, social, spiritual and emotional wellbeing” (Kingsley et al., 2013, p. 678). The significant role of the contact with the natural world is linked to the natural environment. For indigenous people, Country is associated with the natural environment, including the land, air, water and, finally, the stories of “Dreaming” (Kingsley et al., 2013). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians comply with the established rules, norms and beliefs regarding the meaning of their existence between species and humans. Hence, Aboriginal people are connected to ancestral beings from the time of creation of humanity, the land and other elements of the natural world (Kingsley et al., 2013).

Alfred Michael Dockety (2010) supports the idea that the tension between maintenance of Aboriginal culture and achievement of socio-economic equality affects wildlife management practices. There is a need for preservation and maintenance of  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s culture in order to facilitate conservation of the natural environment (Dockery, 2010). David Campbell and colleagues (2011) place emphasis on the need for assessing the governmental support provided to Aboriginal people involved in land management practices. Their involvement in land management is associated with and better health outcomes. This fact means that the aspirations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians for healthy country, economies and families are based on their participation in land management activities (Campbell et al., 2011).

            Evaluation of different cultural perspectives on a range of contemporary issues related to wildlife management

Evaluating different cultural perspectives on a range of contemporary issues, including wildlife management, conservation of biodiversity and natural resources, it is possible to conclude that cultural heritage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is linked to the natural world. Researchers pay due attention to the connectedness of Aboriginal people to the land. Their knowledge of the natural world is based on extensive past experience. They pass this knowledge from generation to generation through storytelling, songs, and mythology, which give explanation to ancestral paths (Kingsley et al., 2013). Taking into consideration these issues, it is possible to conclude that Aboriginal people are involved in active interaction with the key elements of the biophysical environment that gives them high degree of spirituality, cultural heritage, as well as historical meaning and emotional wellbeing. The major finding in this research is that

            Conclusion

Thus, it is necessary to conclude that review of the literature gives an opportunity to learn more about the the connectedness that exists between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s spirituality and the natural environment, including wildlife and wilderness areas. The actual relationships between indigenous people and particular parts of the natural environment can be viewed as relationships of spirituality, kinship and caring.

References

Australian Government. Official Website. (2017). Australian Indigenous cultural heritage. Retrieved from:<http://www.australia.gov.au/about-australia/australian-story/austn-indigenous-cultural-heritage>

Campbell, D., Burgess, C., Garnett, S., et al. (2011). “Potential primary health care savings for chronic disease care associated with Australian Aboriginal involvement in land management,” Health Policy, 99: 83-89.

Dockery, A. M. (2010). “Culture and wellbeing: The case of indigenous Australians,” Social Indicators Research, 99, 315–332.

Fredericks, B. L. (2013). “We don’t leave our identities at the city limits’ : Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in urban localities,” Australian Aboriginal Studies, 1: 4-16.

Kingsley, J., Townsend, M., Henderson-Wilson, C., et al. (2013). “Developing an exploratory framework linking Australian Aboriginal peoples’ connection to country and concepts of wellbeing,” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health,10: 678-698.

Lynch, A. J. J., Fell, D. G. & McIntyre-Tamwoy, S. (2010). “Incorporating Indigenous values with ‘Western’ conservation values in sustainable biodiversity management,” Australian Journal of Environmental Management, 17: 244-255.

Marler, T. E. “The intersection of a military culture and indigenous peoples in conservation issues,” Communicative & Integrative Biology, 6(6).

Rose, D., James, D., Watson, C. (2003). Indigenous Kinship with the Natural World in New South Wales. NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service. Retrieved from:<http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/resources/cultureheritage/IndigenousKinship.pdf>

Schultz, R. & Cairney, Sheree. (2017). “Caring for the country and the health of  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians,” MJA, 207(1): 8-10.

Whitehead PJ, Purdon P, Russell-Smith J, et al. (2008). “The management of climate change through prescribed savanna burning: emerging contributions of Indigenous people in northern Australia,” Public Administration and Development, 28: 374-385.

The terms offer and acceptance. (2016, May 17). Retrieved from

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"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016.

[Accessed: December 10, 2022]

freeessays.club (2016) The terms offer and acceptance [Online].
Available at:

[Accessed: December 10, 2022]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: December 10, 2022]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: December 10, 2022]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: December 10, 2022]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: December 10, 2022]
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