Is Native Title Law Destroying Native Title?

28 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2013

Date Written: April 26, 2006


This paper seeks to show through a critical perspective that rather than recognising and protecting native title, native title law in Australia is in fact destroying native title. It argues that it takes a critical perspective to understand the impact our dominant system has on traditional rights and interests. The paper first examines the role of the law, the role of the lawyer, the role of the anthropologist and the role of the parties in the native title claim process. It then suggests that all of these players 'collude' within this system to deconstruct traditional culture, thereby possibly turning it into something else. On this basis it is suggested that the native title processes perform an almost assimilationist role and that all parties to these processes are complicit in this. The process of (effective) assimilation denies the identity of traditional rights and interests as being of their own unique system, and claims them as part of the dominant paradigm.

Keywords: Indigenous, native title, property law, critical theory

Suggested Citation

Galloway, Kate, Is Native Title Law Destroying Native Title? (April 26, 2006). Available at SSRN: or

Kate Galloway (Contact Author)

Griffith Law School ( email )

Nathan Campus, GU
Nathan 4111

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