YMAC’s Research team consists of several anthropologists who work with Traditional Owners across our representative areas for a range of projects both pre- and post- determination.
Under the Australian process for a native title claim – as laid out in the Native Title Act 1993 – claimants must prove that continuity of connection to Country through traditional Laws and customs has continued to exist beyond European settlement. The role of an anthropologist in this process is to research and review archival documents, maps, and any other applicable information, conduct interviews and support consultant Anthropologists as well as to work together with Traditional Owners to create Reports which can go to the State of Western Australia or before the Federal Court.
Review the full list of YMAC’s functions under the Native Title Act here.
Native title research can take years to collect, analyse and refine, all to ensure that as many of the right people as possible are being heard and represented correctly. This work involves working closely with Traditional Owners connected to Country, as well as working closely with YMAC’s Legal and Spatial (mapping) teams.
Although a lot of this research is desktop based, our Research team also has the privilege of going out on Country throughout the process, to collaborate with Traditional Owners to demonstrate a continuous connection to an area of land. This can involve lengthy fieldtrips, which provide invaluable opportunities to learn about Country from Traditional Owners.
Once a native title determination has been reached, YMAC’s Research team still have a lot of work to do. Our Return of Materials process allows us to ensure the materials collected throughout the claim process are given back to the rightful owners, which can take some time to organise and distribute correctly. We also work closely with YMAC’s Legal, Land and Sea Management, Heritage, Spatial and PBC Executive Office departments to assist with many projects and negotiations in the post-determination space, including providing specialised anthropological advice.