Indigenous Youth in Governance and Political Processes: Participation, Engagement and Succession

  • Little, Stacey (Primary Chief Investigator)
  • Eckford-Williamson , Bhiamie (Partner Investigator)
  • Doel-Mackaway, Holly (Partner Investigator)

Project: Research

Project Details


This project explores how young Indigenous people are engaging, participating and designing pathways to emerge into governance and policymaking spaces in their communities, regions and states or territories.

This project is a research partnership between the Native Title Research Unit (NTRU) at AIATSIS, the Australian Indigenous Governance Institute (AIGI) and the Macquarie University Law School, Sydney. It represents the next stage in a program of work that has previously included the Youth Forum at the National Native Title Conferences (Darwin in 2016, Townsville in 2017 and Broome in 2018), the Youth Engagement in Native Title project (September 2017-June 2018), the Indigenous Youth in Governance Masterclass (November 2018), the Issues Paper ‘What do young fellas reckon? Exploring the experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth in Native Title’ (Aboriginal Studies Press, forthcoming) and the peer-reviewed publication, ‘“Ask us, This is our Country”: Aboriginal children and young people’s participation in law and policy development’ (2019, In: International Journal of Children’s Rights. 27, 1, p. 31-65).

The earlier program of work has focussed on the experiences of young people in relation to native title; developing governance skills; and understanding the views of Aboriginal children and young people in relation to laws and policies that have affected them. This previous body of work has laid the foundations for a more in-depth study working with specific Indigenous organisations and peak bodies.

This project shifts the focus to how Indigenous children and youth are participating and engaging in their community organisations and larger political processes. This can include native title or cultural heritage in a specific community, as well as youth specific treaty negotiations in states or territories. This project will involve up to four case studies.

The research will involve interviewing young people about their views and ambitions for community and their assessment of the engagement models and succession structures already in place. Elders and community leaders will also be interviewed to explore the views and ambitions they hold for young people. The research will also involve desktop research to review the organisations’ constitutions and related governing documents in order to analyse their impact on youth engagement practices.
Effective start/end date1/02/181/12/21