In Australia, the Dunghutti Aboriginal People are made up of eight tribal groups that reside in the continent’s Macleay Valley region. Their way of life was disrupted by White settlers, and they eventually lost rights to their land. However, the Native Title Act of 1993 gave way to the Dunghutti people to become the first group of aboriginals to lay claim to lands on this day in 1997.
A native title, also known as an aboriginal title or original Indian title in the States, essentially served as a doctrine that put certain protections of lands in place for indigenous persons. In Australia, the Native Title Act of 1993 was made official at the top of 1994, and Ms. Mary Lou Buck was the first aborigine to file for a claim to lands and protection under the law.
There were several negotiations sparked by way of the claim, yet the Australian Federal Court ruled in favor of the Dunghutti. As reported by a News Limited article, the decision funneled $1.2 million in to what the paper called the “unofficial Black capital of New South Wales.”
From from the News Limited piece:
“It is a moment of which our ancestors would have long hoped, whereby the whole Australian community through its courts has fully recognised the meaning of the land to the Aboriginal people,” Ms Buck said outside.
“. . . We have survived. We carry with us and shall not forget the determined refusal of our ancestors to deny who they were.”
But the small parcel of land, measuring just 12.4ha, will never be occupied by the Dunghutti.
Indeed, the native title stood for just six hours yesterday, when the State Government moved to compulsorily acquire the native title rights.
Under the agreement, the Government will pay the Dunghutti $738,000 and a further $500,000 for a parcel of land, which has yet to be subdivided.
In 2010, however, the Dunghutti Elders Council received $6.1 million for the 12.4 hectares of land that was being used for residential development and upended some of the Dunghutti people. The Dunghutti people still carry pride over being the first aboriginal people to earn a native title consent determination in Australia.