SANTS News – July 2023

Monthly native title updates

Keith Thomas celebrates 25 years at SANTS

Congrats to our CEO Keith Thomas, who celebrated 25 years at SANTS this month.

Keith joined the ALRM Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement’s Native Title Unit in 1998, which later became this stand-alone organisation.

Since 2011, he’s steered the ship at SANTS as a fair, respectful and empathetic CEO (described by his dedicated team).

“As an Aboriginal person, I’ve always been interested in supporting the growth of First Nations people and nation-building.

“It’s been a fantastic journey so far. I’ve stayed put because it takes a long time to help Traditional Owners gain their native title, and it’s rewarding to see many now managing their own rights and interests.”

Native title recognition for Ngadjuri people

Congrats to Ngadjuri people who received their native title consent determination in Burra on July 6, resolving a claim first filed in 2011.

The determination area covers South Australian towns across the Mid North including Kapunda, Clare, Burra, Peterborough and Yunta.

Speaking at the Burra Town Hall, Aunty Pat Waria-Read said, “This is a day of victory. It’s a day for Ngadjuri to be strong resilient Aboriginal nations, which I know we are and will always be.”

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Barngarla halt nuclear waste dump at Kimba

The Federal Court has ruled in favour of the Barngarla people’s application to quash the development of a nuclear waste dump near Kimba.

The court upheld a complaint by the Barngarla people, indicating there was apprehended bias in the decision-making process by former federal minister Keith Pitt when selecting the site.

Napandee, near the town of Kimba, was acquired as a storage facility for low and medium-level nuclear waste in November 2021, with 60% of residents voting in favour of the project when initially polled.

Barngarla Traditional Owners said they were not properly consulted about the plan before it was approved in 2021 and that the development would interfere with sacred sites that run through that area.

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Return of ancestors to the Far West Coast

On July 7, the Far West Coast Aboriginal community and representatives of the South Australian Museum gathered at Koonibba for the return of 10 ancestors to Country.

The ceremony culminated from a three-year effort by the Far West Coast Aboriginal Corporation (FWCAC) and South Australian Museum, who collated information and consulted with the community to prepare a culturally appropriate reburial ceremony.

The reburied ancestors were taken from the Far West Coast of South Australia over a period of 95 years, with their remains and locks of hair removed without consent.

Far West Coast Aboriginal Corporation Chair, Basil Coleman said, “It has been a long process, and at the end of the day we’re celebrating their return back to Country. We as the descendants of these ancestors, our Far West Coast ancestors, have a cultural obligation, commitment, and responsibility to make sure they come home with dignity, and in a respectful way.”