Reimagining decolonising praxis for a just and ecologically sustainable peace in an Australian context

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In contemporary Australia, as Tony Birch argues, racist stereotyping of Indigenous people, colonial dispossession and climate change are linked, especially through the violent legitimation of mining on Indigenous Country. This chapter argues that when scholars and activists seek to bring together concepts and practices of ecological sustainability, peace and justice in an Australian context, they need to engage afresh with Indigenous sovereignties as an essential beginning point for mapping effective principles for a just and ecologically sustainable peace. First, ecological thought is indebted to First Nations epistemologies; this underscores the necessity for an Australian-based project to be founded in respect for Indigenous knowledges and to ask on what authority such knowledges are employed by non-Indigenous researchers and activists. Second, recognition of both the violence of the ongoing system of invasion and the resilience of Indigenous people in resisting and surviving colonial violence needs to open toward recognition of Indigenous sovereignties on Country. Third, a decolonising praxis must embrace: truth-telling, including acknowledgement of colonial contributions to ongoing ecological trauma; contextualising ecological action in relation to Country; recognising Indigenous activist ancestries; and submitting to Indigenous sovereignty both with and beyond what is offered by processes toward formal constitutional recognition.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTowards a Just and Ecologically Sustainable Peace
Subtitle of host publicationNavigating the Great Transition
EditorsJoseph Camilleri, Deborah Guess
Place of PublicationSingapore Singapore
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9789811550218
ISBN (Print)9789811550201
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • climate change
  • peace ecology
  • ecological peace work
  • decolonialisation
  • sovereignty, First Nations
  • settler colonialism

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