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History and Native Title: The making of a community asset

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Dr Michael Bennett
Grace Koch

Since the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) came into being, historical and anthropological research has been conducted in order to provide evidence of Indigenous land ownership. One of the most important aspects of the native title process involves tracing descent from the traditional owners of the land who could be identified at the time of sovereignty. This requirement plus others has resulted in the assemblage of vast and varied amounts of historical material.

In this paper we will give a brief description of what type of documentation is needed for a native title claim, what happens to the materials both during and after the claim process and how the research creates a valuable community asset. Finally, there will be consideration of various options for the management of the historical material to give greater access and control to the indigenous communities in NSW.

This paper ties closely to the presentation History and Native Title: The making of a community asset.