Supporting best practice in native title research into the future

Wednesday, 1 June 2016
Dr Pamela McGrath

The role of anthropologists in the native title system is significant, if at times controversial. They work for NTRBs/SPs, PBCs, governments, courts and industry on many different kinds of projects and in many different capacities. Among other things, they compile evidence for native title claims, provide expert advice to the court, peer review connection reports for respondents, assist with mediation and agreement making, and design and implement community development initiatives.

In response to a perceived shortage of anthropologists, in 2010 the Attorney General’s Department implemented the Native Title Anthropologist Grant Program. Over the years this program has supported a range of initiatives such as the Centre for Native Title Anthropology, YMAC’s Anthropologist Professional Development Program, and James Cook University’s Masterclass in Native Title for Anthropologists.

As the latest (and perhaps last) round of the Native Title Anthropologist Grants Program draws to a close, this paper reviews the findings of a recent national survey of Australian anthropologists to reflect on the current state of native title anthropology, its ongoing significance to the practise and teaching of culture, and the role agencies such as the NNTT might play in continuing to support professional practice in native title anthropology into the future.