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2023 AIATSIS Summit – navigating the spaces in between by re-imagining Australia through First Nations leveraging native title and broader rights

Today, the third day of the 2023 AIATSIS Summit opened at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre on Noongar Country in south-eastern Western Australia with a fresh influx of delegates and a focus that turned largely to native title matters.  

The plenary hall opened today with Gail Mabo and Kaleb Mabo greeted on stage to applause by an enthusiastic audience. Gail Mabo announced she was passing down responsibility to her son Kaleb Mabo to allow the next generation to step up and shine. 
Kaleb Mabo spoke of the significance of the AIATSIS Summit for the Mabo family and how the spirits of the ancestors will be guiding the next generation as they take on the new responsibility to continue the Mabo legacy. Kaleb shared the background and history of his family before receiving a standing ovation and handing over to Ned David, Chair of the Gur A Baradharaw Kod Torres Strait Sea and Land Council (GBK), who provided the 2023 Summit, Mabo Lecture.  
Ned David, a Kulkalaig man, and Traditional Owner from the Central Islands of the Torres Strait. His homeland, Magan, includes Tudu (Warrior Island), Iama (Yam Island), Gebarr (Gabba Island), Mucar (Cap Island), Sassie and Zagai, the surrounding reefs of Wapa (Warrior reef) and Thidu (Dungeness reef). He has family connections to the Komet tribe of Mer (Murray Island) through his mother and to the Doeybaw clan of Saibai Island through his father. 

Mr David spoke of the honour and privilege of being asked to present the Mabo lecture. He shared the background of the GBK and their commitment to creating a platform to strengthen communities. 

Other topics discussed today included heritage protection; strengthening the place of Indigenous peoples in universities and concepts of ‘belonging’ in academia; environmental stewardship; storytelling and colonial control; Aboriginal women’s experiences of cultural renewal, identity, and healing; land and sea management; protecting cultural and intellectual property rights; First Nations-led fire management and innovative solutions.  

The Noongar people, the Traditional Owners of Perth, are the hosts for the 2023 AIATSIS Summit. 

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Last updated: 07 June 2023