This photo was taken in November 2016
Oodnadatta residents are offended that The Arabana Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC appears to have approved erection of a sign close to the town boundary. While many people did not oppose the original native title determination in 2012, they always recognized that traditional land use was much broader, with heritage and culture belonging to people who spoke other languages including Lower Southern Aranda and Antekerinja.
The problem highlights how the rush by the state and federal government to provide certainty for pastoralists and miners in the wake of Mabo2 and Wik High Court decisions failed to recognize the real complexity of common law and spiritual rights. Resulting "consent determinations" increasingly look like racist interventions with scant regard for genuine recognition of existing rights. It is important that when problems like this arise, such confusion and haste does not result in fighting among different identities. People should really be working together to achieve sovereignty, keep true culture alive and build a new Indigenous economy.
With water quality from the town bore declining for some years, some local people have looked back to how people survived in days before the bore was drilled. While out walking in 2013, Ardugula members, Edna Stewart and Kaye Finn found the stump of Ankerr Nyent[a] (One Box-tree) and the remains of an old oil drum used as a casing for the soakage. Ankerr Nyent supplied water to the Lower Southern Aranda camps situated between the soakage and Arrkwety Akapert (Akutja Kapirta or Mt. O’Halloran). Located 2km from the current township, the box tree is thought to have died in the late 1960s and as people moved closer to town, the old soakage fell into disuse and became largely forgotten.
Volunteers from Ardugula Aboriginal Corporation, an organisation focusing on cultural education in the Macumba and related regions, have just dug at the site of the remaining casing and found good water at the native well. Members have suggested it become a memorial, perhaps with a new porous casing and secure lid to mark this heritage site. It is one of a number of largely forgotten resources which could be reclaimed around Oodnadatta and perhaps included in a walking trail for visitors. Ardugula proposes to open discussions with other organisations and state bodies about employment creation and support for the rehabilitation project.
The water at Ankerr Nyent, Oodnadatta.
Macumba is one of the pastoral leases held by Kidman & co Ltd. They have been trying to sell their company and had an offer of $370 million for the business that included 11 leases including Macumba. The Treasurer of Australia, Scott Morrison intervened in the purchase through the Financial Investment Review Board (FIRB). We don't really know who the new graziers on our country will be at this stage.