Dion Wall

Social Science
Native Title
Summer 2018

For 6 weeks in November/December of 2018 I had the pleasure of being placed with the National Native Title Tribunal at the Brisbane office, as part of an internship program through Aurora. As an Indigenous applicant I also received an Indigenous Commonwealth Scholarship. During the placement my work consisted of reading through various NNTT research material and advising my supervisor, Dr Michael O’Kane on the contents of the reports on whether it is an opinion or a privacy issues. This little report will summarise the things that I have enjoyed, learnt, and found challenging.

I have personally enjoyed many things about my time at NNTT and the first thing that comes to mind is the staff.  The staff were always approachable, kind and friendly, this helped greatly during the six weeks as I never felt out of place. On my first day I was extremely nervous, I had never done an internship before nor office-like work, however after being introduced to everyone I felt welcomed and relaxed. During my time there I got along well with everyone, and I believe I opened up just a bit more since starting. I am a quiet person and like being alone so this has brought me out of my comfort zone - but I enjoyed it.  

Another thing that I have really enjoyed is the work itself. My focus was on the WA reports and I was doing about a report a day, as I am a slow reader and some reports were quite long. One thing I did notice with the reports that similar sources were being used but in different contexts, I still enjoyed reading through them however. While some claim areas where spoken about several times, and some were not following the normal structure format, I found all reports interesting to read. This was because each discussed ceremonies, traditions, language, and/or the history of the area/people.

One of the things I learnt was about Native Title as a whole. I studied heritage management and archaeology at university, however we just briefly touched on the subject. When we did discuss Native Title it was usually in the context of the policy of it rather than the full process of it. During my time here I have learnt more about Native Title than I did at University.

There was only one thing I found challenging about my time at NNTT and that was during my first week, which was the office type style of work, so the first week was spent getting used to that environment. This was also the same with the work I was also doing. I was not 100% sure on what was required of me and coming up with the first template for the assessment report was challenging. I wanted to make sure that it made sense and that it also matched the criteria.   

Overall my time at NNTT was great experience and very fulfilling. I have made new friends, met new people, experienced things I would have never thought of and learnt more about myself. I would highly recommend any student or graduate to consider applying for an Aurora internship, from any study background.