Native Title, what Native Title? A case study from Wiluna, Western Australia

Wednesday, 4 June 2014
Lindsey Langford
Rob Thomas
Ian Kealley
Victor Ashwin

Native title recognition has brought about a change in relationships within Indigenous communities and between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, organisations and forms of governance. Yet there are so many questions remaining about how Indigenous people can benefit from native title recognition and take advantage of their “seat at the table”. This paper explores how the Wiluna native title holders have resisted the native title wedge by strengthening and affirming their culture and traditions – “getting on” with business – through small scale projects to bring people back on country.

Their “business” has now evolved to include the planning, decision making and, more recently, the dedication of an IPA over their traditional lands.

This paper will focus on their IPA planning process from the perspective of the Western Australian government, the Traditional Owners and Central Desert Native Title Services as a culmination of a 10-year history of relationship building with multiple government departments and agencies within the Wiluna area.