Steven L Ross
In the more densely settled south east part of Australia, narrow understandings of 'tradition' at the common law, and the extinguishing effect of certain categories of land tenure, has limited the potential of native title to recognise the laws and customs of traditional owners. Instead, traditional owners are asserting their traditional authority irrespective of native title outcomes. This paper engages with this context in relation to the Murray Lower Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations (MLDRIN), an organisation that has formed as an alliance of ten traditional owner groups from along the River Murray and its tributaries. It is argued that the rhetoric of this alliance consolidates the native title trend of emphasising a traditional authority that exists in a distinctly separate Indigenous domain. However, the work of the alliance is deeply intertwined with government structures and processes within intercultural Australian society. Indeed, native title law has had a particular effect on the mobilisation of this alliance.
Weir, J. and S. Ross. 2007. 'Beyond native title: the Murray Lower Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations', in F Morphy and B Smith (eds), The Social Effects of Native Title, Recognition, Translation Co-existence, CAEPR Research Monograph No. 27, ANU E-Press.