SA First Nations community files petition on land ownership evidence

Mirning Aboriginal community files petition to Attorney-General John Rau to have their 'evidence' of land ownership considered

Doug Robertson Adelaide Advertiser 18 October 2013

Mirning elders Robbie Miller, Maria Weetra, Bunna Lawrie, and Robert Lawrie have filed their petition with Attorney General John Rau. (Pic: Sam Wundke News Ltd)

Staff for John Rau have agreed to pass on to the Attorney-General a petition presented by Aboriginal elders asking to postpone a meeting to decide ownership of traditional country in the state's far west.

A group of about 35 Mirning people gave the petition to staff at Mr Rau's Pirie St office earlier on Friday.

They claim they have evidence that the Mirning clan are the traditional custodians of tens of thousands of hectares of land from Fowlers Bay to the WA border.

They say the evidence is being ignored by native title officials.

They have asked Mr Rau to stop a community meeting at Ceduna on November 1 and 2, set up by SA Native Title Services, to 'finalise'' the Indigenous Land Use agreement.

They ask that their evidence be considered before the decision which, they say, would cause a "cultural catastrophe'' if land was handed to the wrong clan.

Spokesman Bunna Lawrie said he was confident their evidence would prove Mirning people had been custodians of the land for at least 50,000 years.

"I'd like to think Mr Rau would sit down with us and look at the evidence we have over the claim,'' he said.

"We believe the history he has (previously considered) is not the true history.''

The group later congregated at Parliament House to continue the campaign.

The Mirning elders are opposing a claim by Western Desert people - including those from Yalata, near Ceduna, and Kokatha and Wirangu clans, from the Far North.