59. Anthropologists & Lands Councils. Who decides?

Nikunu Yunupingu and Richard continue the conversation about anthropology and anthropologists.

Yolŋu people know that anthropologists come and work, talking with the Elders about their lands and culture. Then they go back to where they came from – but who are they working for? Are they working for the Government, the Lands Council or someone else?

Nikunu says, “After anthropologists have been and mining companies arrive, often the mining companies can then destroy important Madayin law places. The landowners are confused. Who has given them the permission to do such things”?

There is added confusion as many Yolŋu people still don’t have a clear understanding of their rights under the Land Rights Act NT 1976. Because there has been so little conversation around Yolngu rights under the land rights act, and their rights in general under contemporary Australian law, people aren’t even sure what questions they need to ask.

Richard discusses how this confusion exists on both side. Yolŋu are confused about their roles and rights, while the anthropologists are very confused about Yolŋu high level legal language. Richard and Nikunu talk about some of the words that anthropologists still don’t understand. So if they can’t understand what Yolŋu are talking to them about how can they get the information right.

The conversation continues.

(This program was recorded while our online studio was having issues. We apologise for the audio quality.)


There are 4 stories in this podcast. Please see time stamps below-

  • Anthropologists & Lands Councils. Who decides – 00:000.00
  • Did Anthropologists go to Uluru – 9:36.546
  • More than just Sacred Sites – 20:26.100
  • Consulting more people than just Traditional Owners – 29:57.963