The Dieri Aboriginal people have been recognised by the Australian Court Consent Determination for their Native Title Rights at the ceremony for the determination of the Dieri number two Native Title Claim.
Dieri Aboriginal people are from the Cooper Creek, and are traditional custodians for an area known as ‘Mumpie’, land in which many Elders have fond memories of living and working.
The ceremony was held on Wednesday, February 26 at the Cooinda Club in Port Augusta and was attended by Dieri Elders, Dieri Aboriginal people, Dieri Aboriginal Corporation director Frank Warren, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation Ian Hunter, well-known Australian barrister/solicitor Stephen Kenny and many other family members and guests, some of which travelled across the country to attend.
The second consent to determination has been described as landmark decision for Dieri people to their land, as this is their traditional land and thus has much spiritual significance to the Dieri people.
The Australian Court Consent Determination, led by the Honourable Justice Richard White, completed the official formal orders at the beginning of the ceremony.
Australian Native Title solicitor Stephen Kenny has represented the Dieri Aboriginal Corporation since the beginning of their claim and was a part of the formal proceedings on the day.
To mark the occasion, the court prepared bound volumes of the determination, including the judge’s reasons, and presented them to nominated Dieri directors and elders.
Dieri Aboriginal Corporation Director Frank Warren, who made a special speech at the ceremony, described the recognition of being the owners of their own country as “very special”.
“This is a positive outcome for Dieri people, especially for Elders who put so much effort tirelessly for Native Title,” he said.
“Now we can say that is our property, our land, and we can go back there and do whatever we want.
“It’s very pleasing because our ancestors were born on the property, and to lose it, it would have been a big loss for us - but it’s very important that we’ve worked things out.”
The first Dieri Native Title Claim was acknowledged in May of 2012 at Marree Station, and the process has since been ongoing.
“It was long and hard [the process], but the mediations and the other party, we just agreed on everything and there was (sic) no disputes, and it was worked out in the proper manner,” he said.
Minister for Aboriginal affairs and reconciliation Ian Hunter also spoke at the ceremony, on behalf of the South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill, Attorney General John Rau and the state government.
“We recognise that Dieri have been the owners of this land for a very very long time, not just from today onwards, but going back a long way into the past,” he said.
“There, they possess knowledge and cultural information about that place...and they will always be associated with that land, in the past and into the future.
“We also recognise by this determination of course, that other people have rights in that area as well; the state, pastoralists, mining companies, and other Aboriginal communities.”
Minister Hunter congratulated all parties involved for reaching an agreement around the consent for determination.
“We recognise that those rights [of all parties] can exist side by side to the Native Title Rights, and that’s a massive achievement and it’s something that everyone here today should be congratulated on,” he said.
“From the perspective of this [state] government, we believe that [these] matters should be resolved by negotiation and by consent and that people should talk through their issues and come together - just as you’ve done today.
“It’s never easy, but at the end of the day it means that everybody accepts your native title hold claim and rights, and will do so from now and into the future.”