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Tuesday, 15 May 1973
Page: 2150

Mr Hunt (GWYDIR, NEW SOUTH WALES) asked the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, upon notice:

(1)   Which existing Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory consist of more than one tribal group.

(2)   How many tribal groups are living at Yuendumu and Bamyili settlements.

(3)   Will ghe granting of land rights according to traditional association result in the (a) fragmentation of existing Aboriginal communities and (b) transfer of groups of Aborigines from one location to another.

Mr Bryant - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   The term 'tribe' is generally used in relation to Australian Aboriginals to denote a group of people sharing a common language and customs and occupying a definite tract of territory. But in many areas much smaller 'clan' groups each have distinct languages or dialects and 'tribes' do not exist. Virtually every Aboriginal community in the Northern Territory today includes speakers of more than one language or dialect, though in many one language group predominates.

(2)   Two main language or tribal groups are represented at Yuendumu and 4 al Bamyili.

(3)   There is no reason to suppose that the granting of land rights to the Aboriginals will have any marked effect on Aboriginal choices as to place of residence. For some years many groups have shown keen interest in setting up communities away from the main reserve townships and in the traditional lands of the groups concerned. The initiative of such groups will be supported as far as is practicable. In making inquiries into the manner in which land rights should be granted the Aboriginal Land Rights Commission will be consulting closely and carefully the needs and wishes of the Aboriginals concerned.

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