Reflections on Research Practice: Implications of the Victorian Traditional Owner Settlement Act

Tuesday, 16 June 2015
Dr Timothy Pilbrow

The Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010 (Vic) provides Victorian Traditional Owner groups a framework for negotiating an out-of-court settlement of native title without the need for the lengthy and costly processes that are usually required under the Native Title Act. The process is initiated by the Traditional Owner group lodging a Threshold Statement. This is structured around the Traditional Owner group’s explanation in their own voice of their association with their country. Research findings have a key but structurally separate place in this. Implications of the Settlement Act for research practice include a heightened focus on methodological rigour and documenting the research process. Reflecting on this prompts exploration of methodological questions relevant to the practice of anthropology (and other research disciplines) in the native title arena, particularly in relation to developing attestable findings from limited data.