Alvin Leung

Native Title
Summer 2014

Stepping into Native Title – The Aurora Project          

I could not imagine a better introduction to the world of native title. Through the Aurora Native Title Internship Program, I had the opportunity to go on a 6 week anthropology internship with the Native Title Representative Body (NTRB), Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation (YMAC) in their Port Hedland office. I was assigned to work with an anthropologist on the Palkyu native title claim. From the very first day I was straight into the thick of the action, driving down to Tom Price to interview a claimant. Some of the highlights on the internship include being able to sit in on interviews, editing a connection report, learning about GPS mapping, cataloguing Aboriginal heritage sites and reviewing Aboriginal terms used in a claimant’s statement. Through the internship I really felt like I got hands on with the core research aspects of native title. Beyond just office work, I had the chance to see the beautiful country in and around the Pilbara.The internship also gave me a growing appreciation of the scale and effort behind native title, seeing the work done by lawyers, community liaison officers, heritage staff, researchers and administrative staff across the board.

This fantastic experience was preceded by a great 3 day training program ‘Introduction to Native Title’. The program, run by Aurora’s Training & Development team, brought in experienced native title researchers and lawyers who talked about what to expect from, and how to conduct research for native title. If you are interested in native title and/or Indigenous affairs in general, I encourage you to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to learn and experience what working in the field is like.