TRaCK: Tropical Rivers and Coastal Knowledge

Science and knowledge that governments, communities, industries for sustainable use of Australia's tropical rivers and estuaries

Discussion Paper: Reflections on Researching and Developing Indigenous Livelihoods on Country

TitleDiscussion Paper: Reflections on Researching and Developing Indigenous Livelihoods on Country
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsSmyth, D, Whitehead, P
Date Published04/2012
InstitutionCharles Darwin University
TypeDiscussion paper
ISBN Number978-1-921576-73-7
KeywordsIndigenous livelihoods

This brief review of Indigenous livelihoods research and development was commissioned by the North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance (NAILSMA), as part of the Tropical Rivers and Coastal Knowledge (TRaCK) research program. The review, based largely on the experience and reflections of the authors, aims to enhance the design and delivery of future livelihoods research and development projects. Specifically, the review examines:

  • the challenges of livelihoods research;
  • the roles of participatory and action research methods;
  • the obligations of researchers deploying such methods;
  • the approaches to ensuring that all participants are clear about all obligations and expectations; and
  • the differences between livelihoods research and livelihoods development and the ways both can be delivered by good design and clarity about obligations.

The review focuses on Indigenous livelihoods related to Indigenous people’s relationship with country, including enterprises that involve land and sea management, cultural resource management, quarantine and biosecurity services, eco-cultural tourism, and arts and crafts, in addition to other economic activities. For the purposes of this review, livelihoods on country do not include payments for delivery of essential community services, social security payments or royalties or other payments by mining companies or others.