The Theory/Practice of Disaster Justice: Learning from Indigenous Peoples’ Fire Management



Globally, Indigenous peoples have fire management practices which are not necessarily supported by the centralised land management and natural hazard institutions of nation states. This is changing in Australia with the proliferation of engagements between government authorities and Aboriginal fire management leaders. These engagements raise a series of justice issues that critique the separation of environmental and socio-political matters, and the discriminatory positioning of Indigenous peoples and their interests as local. In this chapter, we share the experiences of Aboriginal people that have been shared with us in three places: Central Arnhem Land, the Western Desert and the Australian Capital Territory. The theory/practice of Disaster Justice offers new opportunities to ensure these socio-natural engagements are ‘just’, which requires careful attention to whose values matter, whose knowledge is important and whose political-legal rights and entities are recognised and resourced.


Wildfire Bushfire Collective continuance Decolonial Environmental justice First Nations 



We thank all the people who have supported our research and work, especially our Aboriginal friends and colleagues. We hope that we have been some small aid to an improvement in Disaster Justice for Aboriginal people by representing their shared information, but the responsibility for any errors or omissions is our own.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Culture and SocietyWestern Sydney UniversityRydalmereAustralia
  2. 2.Fenner School of Environment and SocietyAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia
  3. 3.College of Health and Human SciencesCharles Darwin UniversityDarwinAustralia
  4. 4.10 Deserts Project, Desert Support ServicesEast PerthAustralia

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