ILUA PROCESS FAILS TRADITIONAL OWNERS
The ILUA (Indigenous Land Use Agreement) process has failed the Traditional Owners of Adjahdura Land and is pulling the wool over the public's eyes.
Aboriginal people living on this country (Adjahdura Land: Yorke Peninsula, South Australia) are made up of:
The truth is; Non-Traditional owners who's families were herded like cattle to Point Pearce in the late 1800's and early 1900's, when other Aboriginal missions from around the state closed, have a connection to Point Pearce lands, there's no doubting that, but it's the Traditional owners - the direct descendants of this country - who have the knowledge and connection to the entire country of Adjahdura Land. It's the Traditional owners who know the Dreaming stories, traditions and cultural landscapes and have the right to call Adjahdura Land their country.
White fellas don't understand the difference between Non-Traditional and Traditional Owners. The direct descendants of the Traditional owners are the true Traditional owners of this country.
If you were to ask the majority of Aboriginal people on Adjahdura Land, Traditional and Non-Traditional owners, what they thought of the Narungga Local Government ILUA, they would say they don't like it.
As Traditional owners, we have been forced into a process we have little control over. Government want these ILUAs - they are pulling the strings, and the ILUA negotiating committees are like puppets - most are Non-Traditional owners of this country and they are doing the government's bidding.
This Narungga ILUA offers very little:
Today we are worst off in our own country than the refugees are.
My mothers (Traditional Owners with Cultural knowledge), Irene Agius (oldest Adjahdura Traditional elder living on the Aboriginal community of Point Pearce) and Elaine Newchurch were on the ILUA negotiating committees but they were being used like pawns and not respected.
Before the National Native Title Tribunal (NNTT) registered the Narungga Local Government ILUA, my mother and I submitted 18 Objections to the ILUA - but our objections were pushed aside and the ILUA was registered. We were told by NNTT that we could file an application for review of the legislation with the Federal Court. ALRM (Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement) Native Title Unit told us they would not help us, so we had to phone around to ask for advice from other Native Titles lawyers. We contacted many lawyers before anyone would give us advice. We have made a decision not to file an application for review of the ILUA decision with the Federal Court because we know in our hearts that NNTT would not change their decision and it would be a costly and wasteful exercise. We hope that one day a Minister in this government will start understanding and listening to the Traditional owners with cultural knowledge of our country and actually do something about it.
We have formed the Adjahdura Land Traditional Owners Group (for more details see http://www.adjahdura.com.au) - a group of Traditional Owners who have banded together to ensure Traditional Owners with cultural knowledge of Adjahdura Land have a voice and an active role in shaping the future of our country and people. We expect the government, individuals and groups to acknowledge us and consult with us on all issues regarding our country - today and into the future. We expect our elders with knowledge to be acknowledged and respected - not only by white fellas but black fellas (Traditional and Non-Traditional owners) as well. On behalf of the Adjahdura Land Traditional Owners Group we officially state that we do not recognise the Narungga Local Government ILUA as being law on this country.
NNTT registered the Narungga Local Government ILUA. NNTT made a decision without mediation, without even talking to us, because they said my mother Irene Agius, was on the Narungga Local Government ILUA negotiating committee.
If we went into mediation and NNTT had bothered talking to us, they would have found out the truth about this ILUA process and the lack of respect that was shown to my mother, the oldest Adjahdura Traditional elder with cultural knowledge living on the Aboriginal community of Point Pearce. The lack of respect shown to my mother and other Traditional owners with cultural knowledge was disgraceful. My mother who is also the state heritage rep for the region was on the negotiating committee for the Local Government Narungga ILUA before she got sick. Here is my mother's side of the story:
Irene Agius said, I didn't believe they were ever going to look after our heritage that is why I went on the negotiating committee - but I was sick for 10 months - I know our heritage wont be looked after by Narungga Nations (NNAC). When I was going to meetings, before I got sick, they didn't listen to what I was saying. I questioned a lot of things they put in the ILUA - there was only me that was thinking opposite. When we were told at an ILUA meeting by a crown solicitor that government could extinguish our native title rights and build over our cultural sites if they wanted to - no one spoke up. The people at the meetings didn't know anything about our sites - we are the traditional owners of this country not them.
When the Narungga Nations book got released and everyone could see for themselves who were the Traditional owners of this country and who's families came from another country - the Narungga Nations committee didn't like that because most of the committee were Non-Traditional owners of this country. They (committee members of Narungga Nations who were on the ILUA negotiating committee) told me I didn't know what I was talking about - they didn't talk to me - they didn't believe the stories I was telling them - they didn't want to know.
No one talked to me about the majority white Liaison committee or about the compensation. I didn't see a map of the ILUA area either. I was just mad at the way the meetings were being handled. As soon as I would open my mouth to say something they would jump down on me. I asked at meetings - what about our heritage, what's going to happen to our heritage - and I kept on telling them I want our burial sites left alone - but they just looked at me and smiled. I'm worried about our burial sites - what is going to happen to them now? I don't like this Narungga ILUA - it stinks. As it is now, council can extinguish our Native Title rights as they please - and they will, with the help of Non-Traditional owners with no knowledge of our land.
I am disgusted with the whole ILUA process. Government, ALRM and the ILUA negotiating committees have failed the Traditional owners of this country.
There are many things wrong with the Narungga Local Government ILUA and it doesn't matter what government tells you, the Aboriginal Heritage Act will not properly protect our cultural sites.
There has been white fellas books written about our culture - and there are a lot of ways you can interpret what's been written in those books - but our cultural knowledge comes from our ancestors - knowledge that's been handed down by word of mouth - from generation to generation - from Traditional owner to Traditional owner - for thousands of years.
Yours in unity
QUENTEN AGIUS: Mobile: 0429 367 121
Spokesperson for the newly formed "Adjahdura Land Traditional Owners Group"
46 Maitland Rd, Point Pearce SA 5573