Issue 4, Semester 2
By Daniel Gregoric
Over the winter break, I undertook an Aurora internship at Nyamba Buru Yawuru - The Place of the Yawuru - in Broome, Western Australia. It was an unforgettable four week learning experience, and I am most grateful to Nyamba Buru Yawuru and the Aurora Project for the opportunity to be involved.
‘An Epic Struggle’:
The Yawuru people are the Traditional Owners of approximately 4900 sq km of their traditional country in and around Broome. The determination of native title came after what was described by Merkel J as ‘…an epic struggle by the Yawuru people to achieve recognition under Australian law of their traditional connection to, and ownership of, their country.’ I was struck by the number of respondents in the matter (58), and confronted by the history of segregation in the Broome area, which Yawuru people and others experienced.
Interface Between Two Systems of Law:
Nyamba Buru Yawuru is the corporate arm that acts on behalf of the Yawuru Native Title Prescribed Body Corporate. A Native Title Prescribed Body Corporate is required under the Native Title Act where there is a successful native title determination. The Native Title Prescribed Body Corporate takes instructions from Traditional Owners, and deals with third parties on their behalf. It is the interface between traditional laws and customs, and western law. As part of the work which I undertook at Nyamba Buru Yawuru, I had the opportunity to begin learning about Yawuru cultural beliefs, and I considered this to be a great privilege. It was a steep learning curve, but an extremely rewarding experience, and of direct relevance to the legal work I was undertaking. This interface between traditional laws and customs and western law is one of the reasons why working at a Native Title Prescribed Body Corporate is so interesting. If you would like to learn more about Yawuru cultural beliefs, the following article, titled Sharing Country, Sharing Sovereignty, by Jimmy Edgar, Lloyd Pigram and Sarah Yu, is very informative.
The Broome Area:
The red, pindan soil of Broome is an incredible sight, along with perfect weather during the Melbourne winter, beaches, sunsets, and mangroves. It is also possible to see more remote areas of the Kimberly on day trips from Broome. In general, the Aurora internship provides many opportunities to live and work for a short time in some incredible places, as part of a very structured and well organised program.
I would like to thank Nyamba Buru Yawuru and Aurora for this opportunity, and to strongly encourage other students and graduates to apply for an Aurora internship. This Program provides opportunities to be involved in very meaningful work, and to make a positive contribution to Indigenous organisations. Applications for the summer 2018 / 19 round will open on Monday 6th August through to Friday 31st August. For more information about the Aurora Internship, please visit http://auroraproject.com.au/about-applying-internship.