who we are
We hope that with our native title rights and interests, those who come onto our lands will respect our culture, our traditions and most importantly, protect our heritage and sacred lands.
Native Title Claim HistoryOn 21 October 1997, Eastern Guruma Elders behalf of the Eastern Guruma People lodged an application claiming native title in the National Native Title Tribunal. The area being claimed was located in the East Pilbara and comprised of approximately 8,715 square kilometres. On 22 April 1999, the National Native Title Tribunal accepted the application for registration and WAD6208/98 was filed in the Federal Court of Australia on 18 January 1999.
After much work obtaining connection evidence and negotiating with the State and the other respondents to the claim, the parties reached an agreement over the majority of the claim area. This area became known as the ‘Part A’ claim area, and on 1 March 2007 Justice Bennett of the Federal Court made a determination of native title to the Eastern Guruma people over the ‘Part A’ claim area at a ceremony held in Kings Lake. On this day, the Eastern Guruma people received recognition under the Australian legal system of their traditional rights and interests in the majority of their land.
This formal legal recognition was a significant milestone for the Eastern Guruma people as it recognised their rightful connection to their land, a spiritual connection that existed thousands of years before the legal system was introduced into Australia.
Between 2007 and 2012 the Eastern Guruma people continued to negotiate with the respondents (the State, Rio Tinto, Telstra, and the Shire of Ashburton) in relation to an area of land surrounding the Tom Price townsite, which was excised from the Part A Determination for legal reasons. After lengthy discussions and collection of further connection evidence, negotiations and court hearings, the parties agreed to consent to the Eastern Guruma people receiving a further determination of native title over land in and around the Tom Price town site. This grant of native title over the Part B Area is further validation for the Eastern Guruma people that their connection to the land remains strong.
Eastern Guruma thank everyone who contributed to achieving this determination of native title over Part B. First and foremost, the Eastern Guruma people wish to thank the Elders, both past and present, for sharing their knowledge about their land and culture. A grant of native title would not have been possible without them. We thank the members of the Eastern Guruma people who have contributed so much of their time attending meetings and negotiations and providing the connection evidence vital to the Court case.