On the surface the present struggle at Muckaty involves (in part) a conflict regarding how two groups of Warlmanpa people are defined as statutory “traditional owners”.
Beyond this is another issue – that of two different paradigms – ‘descent’ on the one hand, and ‘relating’ on the other.
“Descent” can be seen as being part of a form of early modern and imperial anthropology which informed the definition of ‘traditional owners’ in the 1976 Aboriginal Land Rights (NT) Act.
“Relating” is more in keeping with recent ‘web of life’ thinking.(See link in main body of text).
Unexplored in this piece of writing is the larger issue of how Anglo-Australia needs to move away from the old imperial paradigm and into the new ‘relating’ mode vis-a-vis First Peoples.
Please take that as read.