Indigenous self-determination is a right BHP Foundation actively supports

The BHP Foundation partners with Indigenous organizations and local communities in many parts of the world to actively support self-determination.


These valued partnerships and the perspectives they bring, help inform the BHP Foundation’s global philanthropic investment strategies which seek to build trust between Indigenous and non-Indigenous actors to advance systemic reform toward Indigenous rights, including self-determination. 

BHP Foundation understands self-determination to mean Indigenous peoples should have voice and choice in decisions affecting them, have thriving cultures and financial autonomy.  

Since 2017, the Foundation has invested in projects to advance self-determination in many parts of the world.

In Australia

Reconciliation Australia’s Narragunnawali Reconciliation in Education project to date has supported more than 10,000 or 40 percent of all Australia schools and early learning services to register and develop a Reconciliation Action Plan, and deepen their capacity to foster reconciliation in the classroom. Through this work, a generation of young Australians are now formally learning about Indigenous history and culture and connecting with Indigenous communities. The Narragunnawali Awards are a bi-annual celebration of the strengthening movement of reconciliation in education around Australia.  

Learn more: Narragunnawali: Reconciliation in Education

The Australian Indigenous Governance Institute (AIGI) connects Indigenous Nations, organizations and communities with world-class governance practice, resources, and professional development to meet their self-governance needs. 

Reconciliation Australia’s Indigenous Governance Program celebrates and promotes the success of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led governance practices as part of national reconciliation. It builds relationships and collaborations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous organizations for mutual benefit, enhancing Indigenous ways of knowing, and increasing confidence and capacity. 

Together, Reconciliation Australia’s Indigenous Governance Program and AIGI deliver the Indigenous Governance Awards that recognize best practice in two-way governance and have engaged 219 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organizations to date. 

Learn more: AIGI 

Indigenous Desert Alliance (IDA) is an Indigenous controlled member-based organization that supports desert ranger teams with connection and capacity across more than one-third of the Australian continent. These desert areas are one of the largest, most culturally connected and environmentally significant areas on the planet. The BHP Foundation has funded The 10 Deserts Project since 2017 to enable the IDA to work with the more than 60 Indigenous ranger groups in these desert areas, to coordinate integrated land management activities to look after country and deliver a range of economic, social, cultural and environmental outcomes.

Learn more: The 10 Deserts Project

In Canada

The Supporting Indigenous Language Revitalization project led by the University of Alberta is pioneering a new holistic model for Indigenous language retention and revitalization, recognizing language is at the core of cultural identity and self-determination. The project is working to transform and strengthen the capacity of Indigenous-led language revitalization by increasing skills, shifting attitudes and behaviors, and supporting community-driven and system investments for more than 2500 youth, 500 teachers, and 30 community-centered collaborations. Initially invested in 2021, BHP Foundation funds 100 percent of the five-year project.  

Learn more:  Supporting Indigenous Language Revitalization

The Boreal Forest Project is pioneering a new model where indigenous communities are leading transformative change rooted in their cultures and enduring presence on this landscape. This project, since 2017, has facilitated First Nations engagement in Forest Management Planning processes with government and industry in a nine-million-hectare area of Manitoba’s Boreal Forest. Supporting First Nations aspirations for culturally appropriate land management in this way has potential for replicability across Canada’s vast Boreal Forest estate and one of the world’s largest remaining carbon sinks, storing 208 billion metric tonnes of carbon dioxide, equivalent to 26 years of global carbon emissions.

Learn more:  Manitoba’s Boreal Forest 


The Collaborative Leadership Initiative with the Center for Indigenous Environmental Resources is a five-year partnership with Canada’s first Indigenous directed environmental non-profit implementing reconciliation based collaborative water governance initiatives. The project is transforming decision making between Indigenous and non-Indigenous municipal leaders in watersheds across Canada, with an initial focus in Manitoba. In a world of ever-increasing demand for and conflict over scarce water resources, this project is trailing a new model with potential global applicability. The project received full funding from BHP Foundation. 

Learn more:  Collaborative Leadership Initiative

In Peru 

Awajun Indigenous Communities in Alto Mayo, through the Foundation’s partnership with Conservation International, are addressing deforestation by empowering communities to develop community land-use plans and sustainable businesses whilst conserving their unique natural environment. The concept may have potential for replication across Peru and the broader Amazon basin. A carbon project co-led by Awajun communities is also supported by the Foundation and will provide additional opportunities for revenue and forest protection aligned with cultural aspirations. This is an important example of placing Indigenous people’s rights and interests at the center of carbon offset initiatives. 

Learn more:  Awajun Indigenous communities (


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Australia Program

To shape a more equitable and sustainable Australia through a focus on Indigenous self-determination and the wellbeing of children and young people.

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Canada Program

Enabling young Indigenous people to reach their potential, and improving water stewardship for local communities in Canada.

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Environmental Resilience Program

Harness the transformative power of natural resource wealth for sustainable and inclusive human development.

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