Following on from the announcement of the confirmed speakers for Plenary Session 2 Indigenous Justice and the Environment, the Organizing Committee is delighted to profile Johnnie Aseron, Director, InterNational Indigenous Peoples Village, NSW, who will present a paper on “Inclusive Practices and innovative Collaboration for Governance Structures from Indigenous Peoples Cultural Perspectives: North American and Australian Experiences” on Wednesday 26 June: 11.30am-12.30pm.


Johnnie Aseron is Director, InterNational Indigenous Peoples Village, NSW, Australia.

For 25 years Johnnie has been investigating issues arising from institutional governance practices through research projects, community capacity building training and development, as a consultant and internationally as a Director for various First Nations Organizations.

Working from a cultural perspective necessitates recognising past and present cultural implants, misnomers and other mainstream myths through which current institutional governance structures continue to impact First Nations Peoples. As cultural perspectives arise through environment, his research efforts have been focused upon the Euro Centric linear institutional model of structure and governance, in comparison to its (often) non-linear First Nations counterpart. Current research initiatives focus on facilitating innovative collaboration efforts between First Nations Peoples, communities and wider community institutions and organizations in the US and Australia.

Abstract: Inclusive Practices and innovative Collaboration for Governance Structures from Indigenous Peoples Cultural Perspectives: North American and Australian Experiences

Developing governance structures for environmental safeguards through innovative collaboration, inclusive of Indigenous Peoples cultural perspectives: Is It possible? Indigenous Peoples governance is culturally based within a foundation that arises from the natural environment, whereas the policies that structure institutional governance arise from very different foundational constructs. Often these differences are expressed as holistic versus linear forms of governance, with many attempts to explore the possibilities of integration under the guise of ‘innovative governance and collaboration’, but is there such a thing? After 500 years (North America) and 200 plus years (Australia) of challenging and questioning components of institutional governance in efforts to define ‘common ground’, the question still presents itself: Is there common ground from which the cultural perspectives of Indigenous Peoples and their non indigenous counterparts can collaborate for issues relating to environmental and human custodian-ship?

In regards to environment, empirical evidence has begun to reveal some of the challenges to the power structures of institutional governance, methodology and practice. Further, from Indigenous Peoples cultural perspectives, the maintenance of cultural integrity, cultural practice and governance too often does not translate well into these institutional parameters. This paradigmatic institutional structure (with the best of intention) often omits a designated and recognisable space for the very cultural perspectives that underpin and inform these various cultural practices.

This paper will explore an Indigenous Peoples governance perspective (a cultural foundation as defined through environment) highlighting Australian and North American experiences to the institutional governance paradigm.

Organizing Committee: 11th IUCN Academy of Environmental Law Colloquium 2013