This workshop will bring together scholars from a range of social science disciplines with Indigenous practitioners of community governance to explore governance relations between Indigenous and settler peoples, and why these continue to be tense and difficult.

More than 200 years after colonisation, there are still limited exchanges about forms and possibilities for governance. Questions are rarely asked of the Australian settler-state framework, for instance, despite consistent Indigenous attempts to engage the settler order. Indigenous modes of governance and efforts to engage the settler state have received little or no reciprocal movement from the state and its associated institutions. Instead, dominant understandings of Indigenous Australia either romanticise an ancient culture or emphasise its contemporary difficulties. This view misses the vibrancy and depth of Indigenous efforts and accompanying opportunities for innovative scholarship and policy development.

This workshop will consider these challenges from a range of perspectives. In particular, it will provide an opportunity to analyse and reflect upon contemporary Indigenous efforts to engage creatively with the settler state and the possibilities that these efforts present for rethinking Australian Indigenous affairs and broader governance in the 21st century.

Despite a recent turn to the intercultural aspects of Indigenous affairs policy and governance, this work has tended to be geographically limited and has not yet engaged the broad range of Indigenous efforts to engage the state. Moreover, there has been no work done of the nature we are proposing in interdisciplinary social science or governance studies. This workshop, and the resulting publication, will break new ground in Australian political science, bringing new voices and new perspectives into the academy and into the debate.

The workshop will bring together established and senior academics and early career researchers. It will also include a master class for the postgraduate, postdoctoral and community participants. This master-class is intended to bring together relative newcomers in the field with senior academics who will provide additional support and development for the papers presented by the newer writers.

Workshop aims
  1. Stimulate renewed debate and discussion about the governance relationships between Settler and Indigenous people.
  2. Facilitate shared inquiry and analysis in relation to a range of case studies prepared by each of the workshop attendees.
  3. Contribute to enhanced understanding of the intercultural dynamics of Indigenous-Settler governance.
  4. Generate exchange between expert Indigenous governance practitioners and settler interlocutors.
  5. Articulate models and other possibilities for improved Indigenous-Settler governance relations and processes.
  6. Develop improved chapters for an edited book (co-edited by Maddison and Brigg, under contract with Federation Press for delivery in 2010 and publication in 2011).
  1. Under-recognised governance: explore the ways in which Indigenous people continue to express their prior claims to political autonomy through local, independent and challenging articulations of their capacity to govern themselves.
  2. Creativity and resistance: examine the vibrancy and depth of Indigenous political values and systems, and the efforts of Aboriginal people to engage creatively with the settler state, often on their own terms.
  3. Intercultural engagement: considers frequently over-looked questions about how we acknowledge and understand what is Indigenous, what is European, and the overlap, fusion, differentiation and negotiation between these ways of being and governing.
  4. Future challenges and opportunities: explores the challenges of Indigenous-Settler political relations at the beginning of the 21st century by explicitly attending to the relationship between settler-state and Indigenous forms of governance and political engagement.