On March 17 2021, CNTA Director Nicolas Peterson and Research Fellow Julie Finlayson attended a Forum for Native Title practitioners  held in Sydney by the NSW District Registry of the Federal Court. The purpose of the Forum was to continue ongoing discussions and developing best practice processes for the Native Title practice area in New South Wales. Anthropologists Jitendra Kumerage and David Martin also attended, and each gave a presentation; Jitendra as a member of a panel Connection: Meeting evidentiary standards for a consent determination, and David Martin a response to a presentation on anthropologists roles in Native Title proceedings.

Certain of the papers and presentations will be of direct interest not only to CNTA’s anthropologist constituency, but also to lawyers working in the Native Title area more generally, and not just in New South Wales.

These are:

Regarding access to  Court Expert and other reports and documents

Justice Mortimer’s proposals regarding the roles of anthropologists in Native Title proceedings, and responses to them.

Issues for anthropological evidence in Native Title claims on matters of trade and commerce

This virtual workshop specifically for anthropological consultants was held on 25 June 2020. Nicolas Peterson focused on the relevant literature on these issues, while David Trigger considered the complexities facing anthropologists called to give expert evidence in Native Title claims on the rights to trade or to engage in commerce.

Presentations by Nicolas Peterson and David Trigger

Question and answer session with audience and presenters

References for Nic Peterson’s presentation

Trade and commerce references.pdf

During the Covid-19 lock down, CNTA is sponsoring virtual meetings of all NTRB/NTSP Research Managers. The objective is not only to support communication amongst peers, but to facilitate discussion around emerging Native Title issues, such as compensation, and their implications for anthropological methodologies and opinions around the issue of ‘cultural loss’ identified by the High Court.

From 15th April, CNTA auspiced three virtual workshops for the staff of Cairns-based Native Title Representative Bodies. On the 15th Sarah Bell presented a carefully crafted account of a best practice example of the development of a complex ILUA process.

Common mistakes in PBC design and operation

In the presentation on the 16th, David Martin outlined certain erroneous assumptions typically made in the design and operation of Prescribed Bodies Corporate (PBCs) that hold or manage the native title for Aboriginal groups. He argues that addressing these requires collaborative involvement of both lawyers and anthropologists in working with Native Title groups in establishing the social and cultural viability of these important corporations.

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Pdf of Powerpoint: Dr David Martin: Common mistakes in PBC design and operation: anthropological insights

Short Paper: Paper Substantive Consultation

Kinship and Genealogies

On the 24th, Nic Peterson provided a brief introduction to some basic features of Aboriginal kinship, focusing on the different ways in which people are classified: as relatives, by descent, and by moieties, as well as the difference between cross and parallel cousins.  I look at what W. H. Rivers meant by the ‘Genealogical Method’ before talking about some practical issues in the taking of extended and brief genealogies.  The talk ends with reference to the way that the large age difference at marriage between girls and their first husband in classical promise marriage systems. Such systems were operative in remote Australia until the 1970s, and greatly affected kinship, genealogy, and the social systems more generally.

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