Ngarrindjeri leaders and Elders have long pursued the possibility of negotiating treaties with the Australian State. The promises contained in the South Australian Letters Patent, issued on 19 February 1836, included the following proviso:
Provided Always that nothing in those our Letters Patent contained shall affect or be construed to affect the rights of any Aboriginal Natives of the said Province to the actual occupation or enjoyment in their own Persons or in the Persons of their Descendants of any Lands therein now actually occupied or enjoyed by such Natives.
Taking seriously this promise Ngarrindjeri leaders have never ceded sovereignty and have worked towards a just settlement with the South Australian and Commonwealth Governments. This has included working with lawyer Shaun Berg on a comprehensive legal analysis of the Letters Patent forming the basis of the book Coming to Terms: Aboriginal Title in South Australia (Shaun Berg (ed.), published by Wakefield Press in 2010). In 1999 Ngarrindjeri made a public Proclamation of Dominium and flew for the first time the Ngarrindjeri nation flag (designed by Matt Rigney). In December 2003 the Ngarrindjeri Nation presented the Proclamation to the South Australian government. The proclamation reinforced and reminded the government that the Ngarrindjeri Nation had never ceded sovereignty to the Crown. Ngarrindjeri further informed the government that they were seeking a process of recognition and agreement making in relation to their future wellbeing. All of these initiatives have helped prepare the way for entering into a treaty with the State of South Australia.
In 2007 the Ngarrindjeri nation established the Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority to act as the nation’s peak body.
On December 14th, 2016, the South Australian Government made an announcement, through the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, Kyam Maher, to commence Treaty discussions with Aboriginal South Australians as the next step towards reconciliation and building Aboriginal governance in the state.
The Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority welcomes the 2016 announcement by the SA Government that it is prepared to enter into treaties with South Australian Aboriginal nations. Ngarrindjeri have been working towards this possibility for many years and see a treaty as a serious step towards justice and wellbeing.
Other activities that are occurring are:
Ngarrindjeri Treaty Forums
These forums are being held Tuesday mornings (run fortnightly), commencing at 9am in the Board Room at the Ngarrindjeri Business Centre, 50 Princes Highway, Murray Bridge.
All you Ngarrindjeri please come along and have your say.
Working groups are being formed to discuss specific areas, such as Health and Housing but not limited to these areas. If you have an interest in attending any Working Group Forums please contact the Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority office via firstname.lastname@example.org
We also encourage all Ngarrindjeri to apply for the membership of the Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority and get involved.
let your voice be heard!
Ngarrindjeri Facebook Page
The Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority has established a Ngarrindjeri Facebook page which will also provide information on the Treaty discussions and activities. It also provides a platform for you to be engaged in the discussion.
Thank you for taking the time to read this update, we look forward to seeing you at Treaty Forums.