by Kev Moore
From the speech by Mr. Peter English, given at the launching of his book – Land Rights – Birth Rights, now available from all League bookshops, Price: “$16.00 posted. The unfortunate part about all this is that the antecedents of some members of the group now claiming Ayers Rock as their former tribal territory did not begin to move in and take over the region until AFTER the true traditional owners, (the Jankuntatjara) had voluntarily vacated the area some fifty or more years ago, and secondly, the party now being planned, which is estimated to cost the Treasury $250,000, may never be held.
“Recent anthropological research has uncovered a wealth of evidence dating back to 1936 which proves beyond any doubt that the majority of those aborigines now officially recognised as ‘the traditional owners of the Ayers Rock region’ and accepted by the Federal Government as “The Mititjulu Community” are, in the eyes of the few remaining descendants of the true traditional owners, nothing but trespassers on tribal territory that never at any time, even in the recent past, belonged to the antecedents of those now claiming ‘traditional ownership’ of the Ayers Rock region.
“My understanding of the present position in Central Australia (and my advice is as recent as two weeks ago) is that the remaining few descendants of the relatively small tribal group whose former territory once included Ayers Rock and the Olgas are violently opposed to the Federal Government’s proposal to hand their traditional homelands over to anyone, least of all to those they now look upon as ‘trespassers’.
Traditional Owners Want N.T. to Control Ayers Rock; “I understand that these very old men insist that the existing status quo be preserved where control of the Ayers Rock – Mt. Olga National Park is a matter for the Government of the Northern Territory which they themselves regard as the present lawful custodian of what was once only one of a number of totemic localities in their region and was outranked by far many other sites….”