By David Ritter
A accomplished account of the local identify process in Australia, and a balanced evaluate of the level to which it has fulfilled the hopes of Aboriginal groups for land rights.
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Additional resources for Contesting native title : from controversy to consensus in the struggle over indigenous land rights
2002 and beyond: Agreement-making and consensus Though the basic intention of the NTA was to encourage the resolution of native title matters through alternative dispute resolution, the trend was slow in developing. One of the key impediments to reaching deals was legal uncertainty, meaning that many parties lacked the confidence to know whether it was wise or advisable to enter into an agreement in any given circumstances. However, following the period of definition, the practice of agreement-making burgeoned and was matched by a convergence in public rhetoric.
In the minds of administrators, ‘good claims’ were compromised by groups that met regularly and without incident, were free of overlaps, inclusive of every Aboriginal person who asserted interest in the area in question and where the claimants engaged with future act processes willingly and in a timely way. Being a ‘successful’ and ‘effective’ native title claimant who understood how to respond and deal with the conventions of the system was a socio-legal role that was learned. Proficiency in dealing with process, though, was not necessarily coincident with authority under traditional law and custom.
The parties to native title claims and the claimants themselves were in a state of some considerable confusion and uncertainty as to what exactly was even in issue. The system’s functionaries were often forced to address the rage or perplexity of the parties by iterating the honest but inherently unsatisfying position that nobody yet knew the answer at law. 22 The result was a snowballing of native title claims: The growth curve from 1994 to 1998 was exponential. In the first six months to 30 June 1994, 14 claimant applications had been lodged.
Contesting native title : from controversy to consensus in the struggle over indigenous land rights by David Ritter