When I received confirmation of my Aurora placement with the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority (AAPA) in Darwin for six weeks over the winter break I was overjoyed. The prospect of working for such a unique organisation was extremely exciting. I selected AAPA as one of my preferences because I thought it sounded like the sort of organisation which encompassed the different areas that I am interested in – anthropology, Indigenous affairs and the environment. Being in the last year of my degree, I was really yearning to get out into the workforce and have some hands-on experience.
Before my arrival at AAPA I had done some preliminary research into the organisation and the kind of work that it was doing. I knew that they were an independent statutory authority dedicated to ensuring the ongoing protection of Aboriginal sacred sites but I wasn’t quite sure what sort of processes were involved in providing this protection. After arriving at AAPA, I soon learnt about the scope of the organisation and the different services it provides. I was tasked with supporting one of these services – the registration of sacred sites at the request of Aboriginal custodians. My role was to aid in the formation of site registration reports according to the specific requirements laid out by the Northern Territory Sacred Sites Act. This entailed researching sacred sites in the AAPA database, synthesizing the information previously recorded on sites and creating a report based on these findings. The work was challenging at times as it would sometimes take a lot of research to uncover the information that was required to complete the different components of the report. However, I believe that the skills I developed and the insights I gained over the course of my six-week placement are invaluable to both my personal and professional journeys.
I feel extremely privileged to have had the opportunity to be privy to an amazing wealth of cultural knowledge. Furthermore, it was fantastic to have worked alongside several qualified anthropologists who kindly allowed myself and the other intern to pick their brains about their years of experience in native title and Indigenous affairs.
Going into my internship I had little expectations about what the experience would hold. I could not have pictured the incredible experiences I had living in Darwin. The sojourns to different corners of the territory, the friendships I made and the insights I gained were all amazing bonuses!
I have come away from this experienced even more passionate about the area of Indigenous affairs, curious about the opportunities that the future holds and just generally very grateful for the six weeks that I had in the Northern Territory.