On 6 June 2006 the Groote Eylandt archipelago was declared an Indigenous Protected Area. At the time, research by linguists and anthropologists proved that songlines, crucial to the survival of the Anindilyakwa People’s re-incarnationist culture, criss-crossed the sea between Groote and the Mainland. Many sacred sites exist in that particular seascape and are known by name.

Having already secured a mining exclusion zone, the ALC has been buoyed by notification indicating the likelihood of a National Heritage Listing of these seascapes and is now looking to secure Native Title rights over the seas to the west of Groote Eylandt.

This is the first time spiritual and ceremonial connections over the sea have ever been seriously considered a matter for national heritage recognition and potentially national recognition under the Native Title Act 1993 (Cwlth). We are working closely with the Groote Archipelago’s legal representatives on Native Title, the Northern Land Council, in order to secure ground-breaking, positive, legal recognition.

Other research projects, including a project to conduct baseline studies of the marine ecosystem, biosphere and aquatic morphology; and research by archaeologists into traditional rock art, burials and Macassan sites, are ongoing.

If you have a new research project that is of direct benefit to the Anindilyakwa people, please complete the online Research Form for our consideration, in permits.

Cultural Reinvigoration

Those elements of Groote Eylandt culture that are enshrined in the world’s museums and art galleries are currently being sought out, to enable people on the island to re-engage and reintegrate with these dislocated objects de art, either in actual or photographic form. The Anthropology department works closely with global and national cultural centres and other art institutions to encourage and inspire contemporary cultural practice, where sanctioned by the community.

Our current cultural reach across the archipelago includes people, environments, places, stories and objects. Working closely with Anindiyakwa Media, we employ the very latest visual digital multimedia practices and geographical information systems, as an integral part of our research methodology.

Another important aspect of our work is the repatriation of skeletal remains from collections in Australia and around the world. This is highly sensitive subject matter as the bringing home of bones requires important cultural ceremonies and then appropriate re-burial.