Waka Taylor remembers his first contact with the whitefellas well – how on his return to Parnngurr rockhole he found two white men standing next to the acacia tree he had hung the goanna he had caught earlier. They were Len Beadell, who constructed many of the roads through the desert, and Bob Tonkinson, an anthropologist that was working with Martu out of the then Jigalong Mission. The encounter would change the life of Waka – a Martu man who had grown up the traditional way – forever.
A couple of weeks ago Gabrielle Trainor, Chair of the NFSA Board, and I were on the ancestral lands of the Martu People in Western Australia. Their ownership of these lands were recognised in 2002 when Martu were awarded native title rights to over 13.6 million hectares of the Western Desert surrounding Karlamilyi National Park.