Michael Lucas

Native Title
Summer 2015

The Aurora Internship Program fosters the ideal experience in which students and graduates can work and learn in Native Title Representative Bodies (NTRBs) and organisations working in the Indigenous sector. 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 6 weeks in the Pilbara working with the Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation 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 Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation (YAC) is a Prescribed Body Corporate (PBC) that exists to represent the Yindjibarndi people and their interests in the Pilbara. It is a unique body in the work it undertakes, which includes but is not limited to, native title, land leases, land management and site surveys.

During my time as an anthropology intern I performed a variety of tasks including the compilation of a wordlist for use in a legal setting. This task involved reviewing previous literature and reports to create a document that could be used to roughly translate some of the Yindjibarndi words if they appeared in an official or legal context. Another exciting task was the interviewing of YAC members to gather information and knowledge that could be useful in a native title setting or to build up a record for the archival body, Juluwarlu Aboriginal Corporation.

The working experience that Aurora interns may enjoy is the chance to go on a trip to remote towns to meet and discuss issues with the relevant parties. As a YAC intern I was fortunate enough to go on a number of trips into Yindjibarndi country including travel to communities and some visits to sacred sites. 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 strongly recommend a placement at YAC as an Aurora intern as it opens many doors to working in Indigenous organisations. But more than that, the unique environment that YAC has with enthusiastic and passionate staff makes the opportunity truly valuable and unparalleled.

For all of those who hesitate at the idea of Karratha/Roebourne, 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 YAC staff, I can guarantee the only feeling you should have is excitement.