48. Understanding the Northern Land Council

Many Yolngu want to know about the role of the Northern Land Council. Does the NLC work for Yolngu or is it part of the government?

Richard Trudgen and Nikunu Yunupingu start exploring this complex topic, beginning with the history of lack of recognition of Indigenous Law and traditional land ownership. Traditional alliances and land ownership structures are discussed, such as Yirralka estates (an area of land and sea that is owned by a particular Bäpurru, paternal tribe) and Riŋgitj alliances. They explore the problems caused by Balanda’s lack of understanding of these structures.

They also look at the history of pastoral leases in Arnhem Land and Balanda attempts to own property and cattle stations in the region and why these attempts failed. Richard talks about the origins of the Aboriginal Land Rights Northern Territory Act 1976.

Richard explores the problems of Balanda attempting to recognise Indigenous authority while still being completely confused about Indigenous law. In order to give some authority back to Aboriginal people Balanda needed to make an Act of law that would fit into their own legislative system. The Aboriginal Lands Councils is the body that sits between 2 systems of law. There are now 4 Lands Councils in the NT, covering separate areas, and they have a statutory responsibility in relation to this Act of Law (for the authority the government want to give Aboriginal people), to the Commonwealth government.

Click here to view the full transcript of this series.

There are 4 Stories in this podcast see below time stamps.

  • Role of the NLC. History to Land Rights. – 00:00
  • What is the role of the NLC. – 10:22
  • History of Land Rights. – 18:41
  • History of Land Rights. – 27:38