Article Title

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


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.


The authors recognise the many First Nations whose lands the work of Aboriginal Partnerships, Government of South Australia, is conducted upon, including, but not exclusively, Kaurna, Ngarrindjeri, Alinytjara Wilurara, and Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara. We pay our respects to Elders past, present, and future. We thank the participants in this study who donated their time and thoughts, and the Aboriginal Partnerships Working Group, Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, Government of South Australia. Special mention is given to Barbara Baird for her comments on an earlier draft.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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