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Land Rights Lunacy

One native title claim over the whole of Kangaroo Island has already been made, by the Ngarrindjeri people, the Murray River people.

Our local paper, The Islander, reports another native title claim over the entire island, this time by the Ramindjeri.

According to most sources (eg Tindale), the Ramindjeri are a small local sub-group of the  Ngarrindjeri, resident at Encounter Bay and the Inman Valley.

There is no evidence of indigenous occupation of Kangaroo Island for about 10, 000 years prior to European settlement. Neither Ramindjeri or Ngarrindjeri have lived on the island at any time since 7,000 years before the pyramids were built.

SA Native Title Services executive officer Parry Agius said the claim would be difficult. “It requires the traditional owners to prove their physical, spiritual and cultural connection to the land. It comes down to evidence and it will be a long haul.”

Given there is no evidence either group has any physical connection with the island at all, it should be a very short haul.

But Agius is probably right. It will be a long haul, involving large amounts of taxpayer funds being handed to ‘local’ consultants, solicitors and anthropologists.

Lunacy.

Update:

After readng Matthew’s comment below I have done some further reading and research, and acknowledge that indigenous people may have lived on kangaroo Island more recently than I indicated above.

The SA Museum, for example, suggests that some sites may have been occupied until about 4300 years ago.

It is not clear who the first people to live on Kangaroo Island were. Whoever they were, they almost certainly did not call Kangaroo Island ‘Karta.’ That is a later, Ngarrindjeri name.

Although the dating of the most recent indigenous occupation is uncertain, there appears to be little doubt those early inhabitants were not related to either of the claimant groups.

I can understand that either or both of  the Ngarrindjeri or Ramindjeri believe they had some cultural or spiritual connection with the island.

If this was shown, and it probably could be, I don’t see why anyone would have any issue with acknowledging it to be so.

What I think is lunacy (and I mean that in the ordinary sense of being not proportional or grounded in reality) is simultaneous landrights claims by two groups of people who have never lived on the island.

I am quite happy to be shown this is not so, but I am not going to be convinced by people calling me names or telling me I have no right to ask questions or to express an opinion.