Understanding ‘Reinvention Engagement Resurgence’: Evaluating mutuality and autonomy in Indigenous-state cooperative governance

Indigenous-state cooperative governance is viewed as a tangible means to accommodate self-governing rights of Indigenous peoples. Cooperative arrangements, including shared decision-making, regional autonomy, pluralistic law-making, negotiations protocols, consultations and land and resource co-management schemes are practiced around the world in countries with large and small Indigenous populations. However, while some first nations have benefited from such arrangements, a growing body of literature on Indigenous Resurgence is challenging the equity and recognition that state-engineered cooperative governance claims to provide.

Central to Resurgence theory is the assertion that engagement with the state through state processes always costs Indigenous peoples because state processes are centred on dispossession (Simpson, 2016). In response, some Indigenous nations are actively seeking to reinvent the engagement space between themselves and state-entities by repoliticising the governance dialogue (Curran, 2019) and establishing cooperative arrangements based on mutuality and autonomy. In this paper I explore engagement resurgence, differentiating between ‘challenge engagement’ and ‘reinvention engagement’, looking at examples from North and South America and Southeast Asia. I unpack mutuality and autonomy as key elements of reinvention engagement and propose a framework for evaluating their presence in Indigenous-state cooperative governance arrangements. The key research question is how do mutuality and autonomy manifest in Indigenous-state cooperative governance arrangements? A secondary question is how might these elements be evaluated?


The presenter is Anya Thomas, PhD candidate from the School of Social and Political Science, University of Melbourne.


The host is Professor Sarah Maddison, Indigenous Settler Relations Collaboration, University of Melbourne.

The presenter has granted permission for this recording to be used for personal viewing and educational purposes. Please contact I-SRC@unimelb.edu.au before sharing for any other reason.