Sandra Boswell

Native Title
Summer 2014

I am a Bachelor of Arts (Anthropology & Archaeology) student at James Cook University.  I did a 5 week Aurora Internship at the Northern Land Council, commencing in November 2013, as part of the Aurora Native Title Internship Program. . I was placed in the Anthropology Branch where I did a variety of jobs, from photocopying and scanning/digitising documents to upload to the database, retyped old documents that were either handwritten or the typing was becoming illegible in order to aid an anthropologist’s research, and upload to the database. I also assisted various anthropologists researching various locations of sacred sites in areas where land is disputed by various clans.  The research varied in finding the locations, which clans were associated with the sites, typing up their locations in excel so that the GIS (mapping) team can plot them and researching the stories behind the sites.  The research led me through the NLC database and their filing system, the NLC library, the NT library and the Aboriginal Area Protection Authority (AAPA).  For documents found in the NLC filing system, NLC library and NT Library, relevant documents where photocopied and scanned so that the anthropologist had a copy, the original went back to where it belongs and the scanned version was uploaded to the database.  AAPA does not allow for documents to be photocopied or scanned, so I had to take notes and type them up for the Anthropologists.  Some typing of the records led to me being able to have a go on the GIS software as well.


Additionally, I prepared spreadsheets for royalty distribution, typed up minutes for various meetings.  This, along with some other background information and research, gave me some insight into the Blue Mud Bay project regarding the intertidal zones which are classed as Aboriginal land. On my orientation day, one person who had been working on the Blue Mud Bay project, gave me more information as well as showed me actually sea cucumbers to handle.  He talked to me about the sea cucumber trade.  My willingness to learn and taking on these jobs led to the privilege of being invited on two field trips.  The field trips were to Millingimbi and to Wadeye for meetings with the Traditional Owners of the two areas.


My experience and seeing other people do their jobs, gave me insight to many issues in Indigenous affairs, as well as other skills that I will require for my future career.  The five weeks also opened the door for more socialising and networking times.  I am normally the sort of person who is initially a bit shy and does not socialise at all.  This was a good opportunity to get over that shyness and lack of socialising, as you really need to be able to communicate (and understand other communication techniques) with workmates, Traditional Owners and other strangers right from the beginning.