Aboriginal Land Rights and Self-Determination at Hermannsburg book: Greg Marks: Paul Albrecht: Garry Stoll: Red Kangaroo Books

Aboriginal Land Rights and Self-Determination at Hermannsburg 1972-1982

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About the book:

This Occasional Publication deals with the granting of title at Hermannsburg in 1982 under the provisions of the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976. This was a momentous occurrence as title has never been granted under the Act, otherwise than at Hermannsburg, to distinct Aboriginal clans for distinct tracts of territory, consistent with Aboriginal law and custom. Granting of title on this basis was strongly resisted by the Government of the day. The events at Hermannsburg in the 1970s and 1980s have implications wider than Hermannsburg itself. They speak to the essential nature of the Right of Self-Determination. This publication brings together the differing perspectives of three key players in contributing to the eventual granting of 5 separate titles at Hermannsburg. In ‘Rrangkarra Queen-aka vote-erramama?’ “Do you vote for the Queen?’, Paul Albrecht, Field Superintendent of the Finke River Mission 1962 to 1983, describes the failure of attempts by the Mission authorities in the early 1970s to introduce democratically elected councils as a means of achieving Aboriginal self-determination. He outlines the consequent reassessment by the Mission of the continuing significance for the Aboriginal people of their spiritually-based social organisation, ways of relating and authority structures. These learnings and understandings informed the role that the Mission would come to play in response to the Land Rights legislation. In The Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Bill 1976: Mapping of Clan Estates at Hermannsburg, Garry Stoll, former Mission Superintendent, describes the involvement of himself and the late Rex Ziersch, Finke River Mission Research Officer, in the process of mapping the clan estates with the traditional owners, a huge task that took over two years. In Aboriginal Land Rights and the Hermannsburg Controversy: Implications for Self-Determination, I describe my involvement in the controversy at Hermannsburg as an officer of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs, Alice Springs. I analyse the meaning of self-determination for Aboriginal peoples, pointing out that to be meaningful, self-determination cannot be a top-down, unilateral process, but must be grounded in Aboriginal law and custom.

About the authors:

Paul Albrecht is a pastor of the Lutheran Church. He was born at Hermannsburg and has spoken Western Arrarnta since a child. He had his entire ministry in Central Australia, becoming more and more involved in translation. In 1969 he was successful in gaining a Churchill Fellowship (CF) for 12 months to study social change and community development in India. In 1980 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for service in the field of Aboriginal welfare.
Garry Stoll was Superintendent of Hermannsburg Mission from 1962 to 1984. He is a fluent speaker of Arrarnta, with a good working knowledge of Luritja, the two main Aboriginal languages spoken at Hermannsburg. In 2002 Garry was given a Servant of Christ award by the Lutheran Church of Australia.
Greg Marks is a Canberra-based international lawyer and policy analyst specialising in Indigenous rights. His article reflects the author’s experience as an officer of the Commonwealth Department of Aboriginal Affairs, based in Alice Springs at the time of the events described, and discusses relevant policy and international law issues. The author’s article Aboriginal Land Rights and the Hermannsburg Controversy: Implications for Self-Determination was originally published by the Australian and New Zealand Law and History Society in their journal law&history (2020), 7:1. However, in this book the word ‘Reflection’ has been dropped from the beginning of the title, and the Abstract and Key Words have been omitted. The main text of the journal article has been re-published here by permission.
Publisher: Friends of Lutheran Archives Inc
Published: 2022
Format: Paperback, 42p
ISBN: 9780958025775
Category: Australian History