Ngunnawal Traditional Owners Announce Plans to File Native Title Claim on Surrounding ACT and NSW

A group of traditional Ngunnawal owners have taken advantage of the 30th anniversary of Mabo’s decision to announce their intention to file a native title claim over the entire ACT and parts of NSW.

Key points:

  • The traditional owners of Ngunnawal have arranged for research into their genealogical links with the lands they claim to claim.
  • Traditional landlord Sonia Shea says she hopes getting the native title will help future generations
  • ACT Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs Rachel Stephen-Smith says government will cooperate with support and good faith if a complaint is filed

Ngunawal Nation’s Traditional Owners Network Group spokeswoman Sonia Shea said Mabo Day was a “significant day” to announce the group’s intention to “guarantee our culture, rights and interests through the Act. of the native title “.

There were previous native title applications submitted to the ACT in 1996 and 1997, which were withdrawn in 2001 when the ACT government and the people of Ngunnawal reached an agreement on a 99-year joint management special lease for Namadgi National Park.

At a press conference this afternoon, the group said that anthropological research is currently being carried out on their genealogical links with the limit over which they intended to claim.

Ms. Shea said that once completed, the group would complete the process.

“We have over 300 families registered within our group and we have been working together on this for a number of years, working for the rights and interests of our people, the traditional owners of Ngunnawal in this country where we are today. “. she said.

The group has also acquired legal representation.

Ngunnawal man Bradley Mapiva Brown said the ancestral group had occupied the area for about 60,000 years.

Brown said some of the group’s “key principles” include “preserving the sovereign and Ngunnawal’s identity” and protecting its boundaries.

He said they also sought to protect Ngunnawal culture and heritage for future generations.

Another Ngunnawal man, Stephen ‘Djibin’ Mudford, said the planned accommodation was a “statement”.

“Today we have so many cultures living on our land and sometimes we are attacked by other peoples, and we want to make a very clear statement that this is the land of Ngunnawal; it always was and always will be,” he said. .

He said the group had been working to gather “a lot of evidence” in support of his claim.

“These things don’t happen overnight,” he said.

Native title claim made on behalf of young people

Ms Shea said in a statement that they would commit to creating a “right of way” for future generations of Ngunnawal people.

“For our young people, who need this guidance and cultural support to know who they are and how important it is to be proud of Ngunnawal’s youth, so that they can also take on leadership roles,” he said.

He referred to the difficulties they had had in getting to this point in the process.

“I think it’s very significant today because the struggles that Eddie Mabo and his family and their people had, it’s hard work,” he said.

“But if you have kinship and family base around you, we can achieve anything.”

“We need recognition for who we are, that’s what’s really important,” said another traditional owner, Bradley Bell.

“I teach my kids their culture and identity, and I want their culture and identity to be strong.”

In a statement, ACT Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs Rachel Stephen-Smith welcomed the news.

“We have said before that the ACT government would commit with support and good faith if a new native title claim was filed,” he said.

“I look forward to hearing more as details become available.”

More to come.

Posted 2 hours, 2 hours ago, Friday, June 3, 2022 at 3:19 AM, updated 56 minutes ago, 56 minutes ago, Friday, June 3, 2022 at 5:00 AM

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