Yandicoogina Land Use Agreement

Identity with a language group involves genealogical ties. Early research by Radcliffe-Brown (1913:146) on the Kariyarra people suggests that the “tribes” were divided into a series of exogamous patrilineal clans with territorial and totemic affiliations. Territorial boundaries between patrilineal clans and language groups were more strongly defined in western or “river” regions than in the arid desert regions of the east.8 Wilson (1961:9) suggests that the mobility patterns and interaction patterns of these small groups with neighboring groups of different linguistic affiliations were a way of classifying or distinguishing them from each other. The distinction referred to slight linguistic differences between groups. As Wilson notes (1961:10), anthropological records also suggest “that tribes, if any, rarely, individually or collectively, acted as a commercial unit, even if the members recognized a cultural affinity.” He notes (1961:167) that tribal affiliation was also not emphasized in the organization of Pindan and its mining and social programs, but that a general distinction was made between cultural blocks associated with desert populations and coastal or river populations. This is important because it is contrary to the contemporary way in which language groups are defined as a community for the purposes of mining agreements in the region. The presence of the mining industry in the Pilbara, the scale of its operations and the provisions of the NTA provide an opportunity to negotiate compensation agreements. According to ยง 51 abs. 1 The NTA is entitled to compensation for `past acts` and `future actions`13 on `equitable terms for the loss, reduction, deterioration or any other effect of the act on their original property rights and interests`.

Both the YLUA and the Gulf Communities Agreement (GCA) fall into the category of future acts. The plaintiffs` rights in this context derive from the “right to negotiate” procedure under Article 29 of the NTA. The right to negotiate arises in relation to development projects (future actions) as part of a claim validly subject to Aboriginal title and before the determination of the existence or absence of Aboriginal title (i.e. . . .