WatkinsBR_CoverJohn Mulvaney Book Award 2011

Annie Ross, with colleagues Kathleen Pickering Sherman, Jeffrey Snodgrass, Henry D. Delcore and Richard Sherman


Indigenous Peoples and the Collaborative Stewardship of Nature: Knowledge Binds and Institutional Conflicts

This book is written by five scholars from very different educational backgrounds and from different countries. Together, they address a central issue in archaeological and anthropological practice today: how to work collaboratively with Indigenous peoples in managing natural resources. Working across disciplines and global regions, the authors took the courageous and creative step of co-writing, rather than simply producing an edited volume of their analyses. The genesis of the book was a session at an American Anthropological Association meeting in 1993, and the final form was hammered out over the following years.

This book shows that Australian cultural heritage management has achieved significant advances over the last decade–for example, by going beyond the discipline of archaeology to include far more anthropological connections; in particular, with respect to people’s connections to place and to the resources in their environments.

The authors argue persuasively that it is vital that cultural heritage managers recognise the role of Indigenous people in all aspects of their heritage, not just in their ancient sites. The book’s Indigenous author–Richard Sherman, a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe–presents an innovative way to achieve such integrated management in his ‘Indigenous Stewardship Model’, with its connotations of a personal investment and a reciprocal relationship that ‘management’ may lack.

Indigenous Peoples and the Collaborative Stewardship of Nature makes important contributions to the discipline at conceptual, policy and substantive levels: it reveals the uniqueness as well as commonalities in the situations of each of the Indigenous peoples discussed. The authors conclude that access to resources and the related exercise of power remain basic to collaboration. In so doing, they provide a remarkable demonstration of the narration of place in the Indigenous present.

A review of this book by Joe Watkins is available by clicking here.