Sienna Amarant

Social Science
Summer 2019


The Aurora Internship program is an incredible and unique opportunity to gain real experience in the Indigenous sector. As a part of this program I was placed at the National Native Title Tribunal in Perth, Western Australia. I spent four weeks at the Tribunal and had a great experience. I was greeted by a wonderful team of staff, who were all very welcoming and pleased to have me.

The Aurora Internship provides an opportunity to learn valuable real work skills, contribute to important projects and experience something not available elsewhere. I worked on a project which previous Interns had also been working on, it involved assessing a large number of backgrounders, which are research reports put together by the Tribunal based on claims or particular Indigenous land groups, for private and culturally sensitive information and authored opinion. The hope is to redact this information and opinion so the reports can be made available online in future as a great resource for Indigenous peoples looking for information on their peoples and history. They will also offer a better insight into Australian history for non-Indigenous people and help in forming a better understanding of Traditional Ownership of land. I was able to work on research reports on Indigenous groups in Western Australia, Queensland and New South Wales, which allowed me to gain a broad understanding of different groups and how the experiences of settlement were different across the country, as are the practices of various Indigenous groups.

While working on the project I developed my analytical and communication skills. I was fortunate enough to learn a lot about the traditional culture and practices of Traditional Owners and read through accounts of settler contact and post-contact history which gave me insight into the history of settlement in Australia from first-hand accounts. I learnt how to navigate the complex history of settlement and recent Indigenous affairs. 

I gained an understanding of the ways Native Title is established and the importance of research in establishing land claims. This internship offered me real skill development and the chance to contribute to a project which is meaningful and will assist Indigenous people and people working in Native Title in future.

The Tribunal is a very busy and vibrant place, everyone working there is often busy and there are always new people around. Because there are offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane as well, there is a chance to interact with lots of different people and really feel as though you are part of a greater objective. Because the staff are so busy I had to work independently but always knew that I could seek help if I needed to.

Through the Internship program, Aurora provides extra guidance and support which assists both you and the organisation. The entire Aurora team are great to communicate with and really care about ensuring your experience is enjoyable and that you are supported, as well as your Internship being beneficial to the host organisation.

I cannot recommend the Aurora Internship program enough, this is such a unique experience to work in a really important space and completing my internship at the NNTT was incredibly valuable.