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Stanhope refuses to meet local elders over land claims

By Thumper 25 September 2006 55

In what could only be described as interesting, Mr Stanhope has apparently refused to meet with local Ngunnawal people in relation to land claims.

Opposition Indigenous affairs spokeswoman, Jacqui Burke, says this is disrespectful and is quick to point out that Mr Stanhope is comfortable with using the Indigenous community for his own political agenda.

Personally I find it somewhat odd that Mr Stanhope has refused discussions given his previous and apparent undying support for indigenous, migrant and other minority groups in the Territory. I would have thought this was an issue he would have jumped all over.

ABC article here.

UPDATED: Mr. Stanhope has put out a media release explaining the lengths he has gone to trying to include the Bell family in a resolution.

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55 Responses to
Stanhope refuses to meet local elders over land claims
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Pandy 8:43 am 28 Sep 06

Thanks all.

Thumper 7:46 am 28 Sep 06


No. I have absolutely no Aboriginal lineage whatsoever. West Indian, Scottish, Irish and French (if you count the Normans), yes.

I did spend a great part of my life studying and working with Indigenous mobs and have a fascination with their culture and norms.

Big Al 11:58 pm 27 Sep 06

Mael, surely you must know by now that, an over-the-top spray coming from me is a term of endearment!

Big Al 11:55 pm 27 Sep 06

In my line of work I end up spending a fair bit of time with all of the Aboriginal players mentioned here. Today was one of those days, as will be tomorrow and Friday.

Strangely enough, in all the years I’ve spent working with Aboriginal people I’ve never come across any reference to Ngunnawal being part of Wiradjuri – didn’t see Stateline though so can’t comment on that (although I don’t know what’s stopping me as I’ve never held back with uninformed opinion in the past).

The Wiradjuri are a plains people, very different to the Wolgal, Ngarigo and Ngunnawal – both culturally and physically so I would be surprised if they were. I’ll ask a few of the lads tomorrow and see what response I get.

Pandy 11:37 pm 27 Sep 06

So Thumper, Big Al and Maelinar all claim to have Aboriginal ancestry?

What makes RA so popular to the black fella? Very interesting.

Maelinar 10:09 pm 27 Sep 06

I can vouch for Thumper’s credentials, however am inclined to say that Big Al is just a wanker given that he flamed me for a previous post.

Al, Ngunnawal is a sub-family of the Wiradjuri, and they share a common ancestry. It was even acknowledged on Stateline a few months or so ago.

The fact that you choose to raise your hackles and infight merely exposes your lack of history and ancestry, and further complicates any claim you may legitimately have.

Me, personally, am not Wiradjuri or Ngunnawal, but then again I’m not Ngati Perau or Macdonald either.

I challenge you to prove it though.

As an Australian, I didn’t seek government handouts to buy my house, my car, or anything else for that matter. I have received the baby bonus, and the first home buyers grant, but they were alongside every other Australian who was entitled it.

Perhaps it’s time to stop dwelling in the past and consider yourselves Australian like the rest of us.

There are two ways to get to the top of the tree.

You can either climb it, or sit on an acorn.

Pandy 8:04 pm 27 Sep 06

Geez Big Al and Thumper you sure seem to know your shit. Why?

Big Al 5:39 pm 27 Sep 06

The families that ended up on the mission at Brungle (near Tumut) were probably Walgul (sometime Walgalu) and Wiradjuri. Tumut is at the eastern extremity of Wiradjuri country but Walgul country comes across the Great Divide and would certainly have included areas of what is now Namadgi. Matilda’s claim of association with this country probably legitimate.

As far as representing the locals – it’s a pretty big call from an indigenous cultural perspective as its quite inappropriate to speak on behalf of others, so I don’t think Matilda tries to ‘speak’ on behalf of local Aboriginals although the ACT Govt would probably like to think that she does.

The friction between the various groups on the issue of Native Title could be related to the idea of traditional ownership as expressed in northern Australia (say Alligator Rivers or Arnhem Land) where everyone knows and acknowledges specific individuals in the community as the people with the right to speak for certain country – down here its probably more political maneuvering more than anything else.

Pandy 7:50 am 27 Sep 06

As I said Nyssa they lost.

What I am interested in is to read about who can claim rights to be a traditional owner of this region. Then I will have a better understanding of their “right”: not that I believe they have any, especially those of Mr Bell.

I see you do not dispute Al’s comment that Matilda comes from Tumut way. What right has she got to represent the locals?

terubo 7:47 am 27 Sep 06

Who put up the sign on the highway into town, welcoming us to Ngunnawal territory – did they get it wrong? And have I been errant in acknowledging such people in the preface to all my public speeches?

nyssa76 7:30 am 27 Sep 06

what ever way you want to paint it, those people with a little of Aboriginal blood lost.

No, that was the policy at the time – breed out the “black” = savage. Hence the stolen generation conveniently masked by the White Australia Policy.

Seriously you need to get a bit more informed and AIATSIS is a great place to start.

Big Al 6:48 am 27 Sep 06

Thumpers pretty much nailed it. For a long time Matilda House (nee Williams) has been the ACT Governments Aboriginal of choice for consultation – but coming from Tumut, her links to this land have been questioned by other groups.

Not much will come of this until the whole mob sorts their shit out and presents as a unified group.

Big Al 6:36 am 27 Sep 06

Pandy, a first port of call would be the library of the AIATSIS down next to the National Museum. Although contested by some quarters, the work by Jackson-Nakarno (sp?) covers the Canberra region. Earlier texts by MacMillan provide direct accounts of contact period and Tindale although now dated and disputed in its detail is still not that innacurate in terms of geographic information.

Pandy 10:53 pm 26 Sep 06

Okay Al where can I get a book on the history of the local peoples?

Big Al 10:23 pm 26 Sep 06

“The land belonged to the Wiradjuri long before the Ngunnawal Development (pun intended).”..and if you really believe that then you are a fucked up liitle maggot. I couln’t even be arsed with explaining why that is wrong other than to say it;s an utter insult to the Wiradjuri.

Pandy 6:47 pm 26 Sep 06

what ever way you want to paint it, those people with a little of Aboriginal blood lost.

The Chief Minister has no say what-so-ever on the granting of a title. If Mr Bell is still trying some hopeless frivolous claim against the Territory and the Federal Court has effectively chucked it out by telling Mr Bell to go and mediate with Sonic, then I am pleased that Sonic is saying in the view of the Native Title Act you can bugger off and stop wasting our time.

nyssa76 5:49 pm 26 Sep 06

Point being, instead of being an ignorant pratt Chief Numpty should adhere to the court’ orders and set up a meeting.

Pandy, they “lost”. Really? I didn’t know that.

Here I was thinking that they were killed and christianised because British colonists thought they were savages.

Thanks for the history lesson.

Pandy 4:14 pm 26 Sep 06

Good point Captain.

Does Sonic only recognise one group or all? From the signs coming into city, only one.

James-T-Kirk 3:19 pm 26 Sep 06


Now I understand: The speech should start “I would like to acknowledge the original owners of this land – the Ngunnawal, Ngarigo, Walgalu or the Wiradjuri – depending on where we are standing, and where they are in the land rights process….”

Thumper 3:04 pm 26 Sep 06

A succesful land claim is not as easy as people seem to make out.

Back in 1997 (or 98) I was involved in helping the Yorta Yorta with their land claim regarding the Barmah forest. I spent two weeks living with them, documenting evidence, speaking to local shopkeepers, cattlemen, old foresters, tourist operations which was put together in their land claim.

I was under no doubt that the document that I contributed to, and that was used a s the basis of their claim, proved beyond doubt that they had been living in the region for thousands of years and that they still remained as a strong core clan group living tradionally, or as much as was possibile given technological changes.

That claim failed.

A claim on the Territory is fraught with danger. Not only legally but even before then given that four clan groups could have a legitimate claim on the land.

The Ngunnawal are now entrenched as the traditional owners of the land, however, this is a political statement more than a fact as I pointed out in my previous post.

I seriously doubt that you could get concensus from all groups as we have seen that there is already division simply in the Ngunnawal.

From my perspective I think Stanhope is doing the right thing not to engage with one group, or one faction of a group, at this stage.

He would be much better to facilitate meetings from all stakeholders, Ngunnawal, Ngarigo, Walgalu and Wiradjuri, as well as involving the Commonwealth, local business leaders, tour group operators, etc.

Once there exists some concenus from everyone about what it will all mean, how it is all to happen, and what the final outcome will be for all citizens of the ACT, then it can move forward.

Until then, there is no real point.

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