Michael Lucas

Native Title
Alice Springs
Summer 2014

The Aurora Native Title Internship Program fosters the ideal experience in which students and graduates can work and learn in Indigenous Organisations and Native Title Representative Bodies (NTRBs). The flexibility of the Program caters to many different lifestyles with internships available in both the winter and summer for 4 to 6 weeks.

Further, Aurora interns can end up anywhere in the country from coastal cities to central towns, all filled with rich cultural experiences. Last summer, I was fortunate enough to spend 5 weeks in Alice Springs working with the Central Land Council (CLC) as an anthropology intern. This was definitely an educational and life experience that I will not forget and value very highly for both its theoretical and practical components.

The CLC is a body that exists to represent Traditional Owners in the lower half of the Northern Territory. It is a unique body in the work it undertakes, which includes but is not limited to, native title claims, land leases, land management and genealogical research.

During my time as an anthropology intern I performed a variety of tasks including the interpretation, ordering and digitalisation of historical genealogical data. This task evolved into the drawing and programming of family trees across several generations, enabling an understanding of the complex kinship systems that exist both past and present. Another task was the research and mapping of sacred sites and inputting them into both computer systems and physical maps for use by travelling anthropologists.

The working experience that some interns enjoy is the chance to go on a trip to remote towns to meet and discuss issues with the relevant parties. As a CLC intern I was fortunate to go on a trip to Papunya and Yuendumu and take part in meetings that involve the discussion of government projects and culturally significant issues. This opportunity cannot be overlooked, as there are very few places a student can gain access to this exposure and experience first hand.

I would seriously recommend being placed at the CLC as an Aurora intern as it opens many doors to working in Indigenous organisations. But more than that, the provision of practical experience in Indigenous affairs and the opportunity to work with enthusiastic and passionate staff is what makes this field so appealing.

For all of those who hesitate at the idea of Alice Springs, I can tell you as someone who lived in a big city my entire life that it is definitely an amazing place. From the desert landscape to the friendly staff at CLC, I can guarantee the only feeling you should have is excitement.