This summer I had the opportunity to gain insight into both native title anthropology and native title capacity development as an Aurora intern at South Australia Native Title Services Ltd (SANTS), experiencing and observing the everyday workings of a Native Title Service Provider (NTSP) on both sides of the native title process. Primarily I was placed with SANTS’ Capacity Development section, which provides assistance to native title groups as they navigate post determination challenges, like compliance in the management of Prescribed Body Corporates (PBC), assistance in the formulation and implementation of strategic plans, sourcing and securing funding to achieve community goals, and project facilitation, among other things. I was also given the opportunity to work with the SANTS anthropologist in the native title application and claim phase of native title, moving between the two areas throughout my internship.
With the Capacity Development section I was involved in a diverse range of activities; from assisting with the update of SANTS’ business and strategic plans to creating the layout and copy for a native title community newsletter; from creating the graphic design for a PBC strategic plan document, to attending a PBC Annual General Meeting and Director’s meeting held in Alice Springs. At the meetings in Alice I had an opportunity to meet the native title community members, take minutes of the meetings, and present the newsletter I had been working on to the Director’s to get their feedback and suggestions for improvement.
With the SANTS anthropologist I was given the opportunity to learn the Family Tree Maker software, by entering genealogy data into the system for a current native title claim. Although repetitive, this work was very important, as genealogies are pivotal to native title claims. By the end of my internship I knew the software inside out. I also attended a two day Native Title Committee meeting in Adelaide, which was an excellent opportunity to meet native title applicants, giving me insight into the challenges they face as they navigate the native title application process. At the meeting I took notes for the SANTS anthropologist, and made photocopies of maps and photographs for the committee members.
Overall I spent five weeks interning at SANTS, moving between the pre and post native title determination areas as required. My supervisor was extremely supportive, ensuring my experience was as diverse as possible, presenting me with opportunities to gain new skills along the way. The workplace was also very supportive: I was welcomed by all SANTS staff, included in their Social Club events, and invited to participate in other office activities when appropriate. I gained a well-rounded overview of the native title process through my internship, and can highly recommend the Aurora Internship Program, and SANTS, as a result.