Ruby Cray

Social Science
Winter 2016

After completing an Arts degree with an Indigenous studies and Sociology focus I set out to undertake an Aurora internship as part of the Aurora Internship Program in my home town of Melbourne. The Program introduces students and graduates of law, anthropology and other social sciences to career opportunities in native title, land rights, policy development, research and social justice, all with an Indigenous focus. I wanted to gain experience in a professional work place and contribute to an important area of work; native title and the Indigenous sector more broadly. I undertook two Aurora internships – a 7 week placement at the North Australian Indigenous Sea and Land Management Alliance Limited (NAILSMA), Darwin and 5 weeks at Native Title Services Victoria (NTSV), Melbourne. Both involved diverse and rewarding experiences. 

Escaping the Melbourne winter of 2016 to a perfect 30 degrees and sunny Darwin was the beginning of such a positive experience with NAILSMA. 
NAILSMA work across the whole of the North of Australia to empower Indigenous land managers through a variety of environmental, educational and community-based projects. Despite a small team (9 people in the office) they have a huge presence.

Most of the tasks that I did whilst with NAILSMA required working independently. I drafted eNews articles for the NAILSMA website, structured a crowd-funding campaign, created 'Ranger Profile' templates for the Northern Land Council (NLC) and drafted posters for a higher education pathway project. 

Whilst at NAILSMA I was also lucky enough to spend a week (6 days driving!) on Country at the Waanyi/Garawa Indigenous Protected Area celebration. This experience really consolidated for me the importance of land rights in its various forms. Seeing the beauty of the Northern Territory was also an incredible experience and I had to keep reminding myself that this was counted as work!

Two other Aurora interns and I were welcomed with open arms during our time at NAILSMA. I felt that the staff were extremely conscious of ensuring that we received feedback, gained valuable skills and got the most that we could from our experience. I couldn't recommend the city of Darwin and NAILSMA more highly! There were endless opportunities to venture into National Parks, eat glorious food and watch stunning sunsets, whilst contributing to a valuable cause.