Lived experiences to achieve native title

Tuesday, 5 June 2018
Kyra Kum-Sing
Kathy Malera-Bandjalan

In the period 1997–2011 the Malera

Bandjalan people’s Native title claim was funded solely by my immediate bloodline and family members and we believe it was the first claim in Australia to pass the Native Title Tribunal registration test, unaided by any other funding body.
In 1945 my great grandmother and great grandfather, grandmother and my mother were key informants for the recording and transcribing of language which assisted us many years later in proving our connection to our country and our collective identity.
Evidence to pass the native title registration test depended on our proof of language, our connection to country and our distinct burial practices. Our family gave evidence about our responsibility for ceremonial life, including births, coming of age ceremonies, marriage, and most importantly burial practices that have been maintained by the female line of my family since time immemorial.
Our bloodline is, and has always, maintained matrilineal law. My responsibility is to maintain the transmission of knowledge about moieties, totems and proper customary marriage to the younger generation of my bloodline. My role is vital to the continuation of Bandjalan men’s and women’s business.

In the period 2011-2017 with respect to the Western Bundjalung Claim our family worked with six neighbouring family groups through compromise and negotiation to form an inclusive Western Bundjalung claim funded by NTS Corp.
On 31 August 2017 we achieved our Native title determination.