Alice Rickard

Native Title
Summer 2015

For anyone interested in native title or Indigenous affairs more generally, the Aurora Internship Program is a very worthwhile program to consider undertaking while you are studying. The Program offers a wide variety of areas to undertake an internship in such as anthropology, social science and legal, within a number of different organisations working to support the Indigenous sector Australia wide. I undertook an Aurora Internship in the 2014/15 summer round at Native Title Services Victoria (NTSV) and was placed in their policy team.

NTSV is a not-for-profit Native Title Service Provider (NTSP) that provides research, legal, policy and community consultation services to native title claimants within Victoria. NTSV provides research to establish a basis for native title claims and expertise in law and mediation to process claims and to make associated agreements. Furthermore, NTSV works with Traditional Owner groups to enhance governance capacity building and facilitate development of their economic and resource management aspirations, pre and post settlement.

Throughout my time at NTSV I was given multiple, wide-ranging and very interesting tasks to complete. Such tasks included drafting employment contracts, a policies and procedures manual, a rulebook, the drafting of minutes at a board meeting and multiple research tasks. The tasks that I completed while at NTSV were very rewarding as I was able to see them utilised in the process of assisting Traditional Owner groups with their claims. I was also privileged enough to be able to attend an on country board meeting with one of the groups that NTSV is working with. This was a great way to be able to experience the work provided by NTSV in action, as well as being an active participant by completing the minutes of the meeting.

The knowledge I have gained from my time at NTSV seemingly feels like more than the whole four years I have been at university. When they say you gain greater knowledge through real life experience, they really mean it. As a result of completing an Aurora internship I was able to adopt a different perspective on the work that I complete at University. This specifically related to understanding how the skills I have gained at University can be applied to the real working world. Not only was my time at NTSV enjoyable due to the tasks that I was assigned, but also due to the staff. The staff at NTSV were extremely inclusive of me into their workplace, sharing their knowledge and experience and thus including me into many aspects of their work. It was a privilege to work with people so passionate about the work that they undertake. Overall, my time at NTSV gave me a greater insight into my desire to work in native title and/or Indigenous affairs on completion of my degree.

As a result of having had such a positive experience in completing an Aurora internship, I would highly recommend anyone who is interested in the area to participate in this Program. The work undertaken as a part of an Aurora Internship flows across so many different levels, giving you a wide ranging experience in many different areas. Further to this educational experience is the experience of meeting lots of different, interesting and very compassionate and intelligent individuals who are working so very hard to provide for change within our systems, especially in relation to Indigenous Australians’ basic rights.