Mia Cooke-Joshi

Aboriginal Land Councils
Winter 2019


My internship with the Kimberley Land Council exceeded all my expectations, and I am so grateful to the Aurora Internship Program for the experience.


As an international student, my interest in Indigenous affairs was completely inspired once arriving in Australia. However, after spending a month in Broome, I realise that my ‘Indigenous land and culture’ classes had only taught me so much. I love anthropology; however, I often wonder (and worry) about its applicability. This internship was the ideal way to demonstrate exactly this: where it intersects with the legal system.

I felt quickly settled in Broome, with the extremely welcoming and inclusive nature of the KLC staff. The world of native title was admittedly quite overwhelming, however by the end of the first week after reading anthropological reports and asking lots of questions I felt like I was getting the hang of things. In the office, I was given land advice reports to write which I found really interesting, as it involved working closely with maps and anthropological connection reports. Also, I had a number of genealogical-related tasks relating to native title holders’ connections to country.

For two weeks of my internship, I was extremely lucky to be involved in the preliminary and final authorisation meetings for an Indigenous Land Use Agreement. A small team from the KLC and I flew to Kununurra, where the following two weeks were spent holding these meetings in Wyndham, Kununurra and Kalumburu. Visitng Kalumburu by charter plane, a small community at the top end of the East Kimberley, was a real highlight! My job was to take minutes for the meetings, which was challenging but very enjoyable. I learnt so much from being able to witness such meetings- it was a great privilege.

Broome itself is beautifully located, and I could absolutely get used to weekends spent fishing and camping and turtle watching. Everyone I met was incredibly friendly, and there was lots of socialising outside of work. I would recommend to take every opportunity to go camping in the surrounding areas of Broome, as it is some of the most beautiful country I have ever seen.

All-in-all, this internship programme is highly invaluable to anyone thinking about working in the native title sector. For me, it has certainly shaped the path of my next few years of study and work. I now know that this is an area of work I would love to be involved in, which I could never have said confidently beforehand.