The practice of anthropology has become central to the process whereby applicants seek to have their Native Title claims recognised. Despite this, there remains uncertainty as to the role of anthropologists and what it is that they should (or can) contribute to the process. Moreover, the interface between the legal system and the profession has not always been comfortable or productive. The legal status of the anthropologist’s expert views is often subject to challenge and legal debate.
In this paper Kingsley Palmer examines aspects of anthropological practice relevant to these propositions. He seeks to situate that practice within the Native Title process and the requirements of the court. This requires an appreciation on the part of anthropologists of what the process demands as well as a better understanding of what anthropologists can offer as experts. In this paper Palmer will also map some possible directions for the future that might have a bearing on how anthropology can contribute to processes undertaken in relation to the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth).