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Discussion paper sets the path for Treaty in the Northern Territory.

Treaty Commissioner for the Northern Territory Professor Mick Dodson joins Kirstyn Lindsay on Balit Dhumba-Strong Talk to discuss the first stages of development for the Treaty process in the NT.

Professor Dodson explains unpacks the newly published Treaty Discussion paper and how it will be used for community consultations across the Territory.

He also shares the importance of Deputy Treaty Commissioner Ursula Raymond's role, ensuring cultural protocols are respected by her being appointed to work with women and girls in communities.

Photo: NAILSMA Director Peter You & CEO Ricky Archer with Professor Mick Dodson at the opening of the Northern Territory Treaty Commission Larrakia Nation Darwin. 28/10/19.

Photo: Northern Territory Deputy Treaty Commissioner Ursula Raymond guest speaker at the Australian Indigenous Doctors Association Network Meeting. August 2020.

The decision to move forward on Treaty was actioned by the Barunga Agreement in 2018 where the Northern Territory Government accepted that First nations people were the prior owners of country, were self-governing with their own traditional laws and customs in the Northern Territory and have never had their sovereignty ceded.

Photo: Northern Land Council Chair Samuel-Bush Blansai & Northern Territory Chief Commissioner Michael Gunner sign agreement to begin Indigenous Treaty Talk 08/06/18. Photographer Murray McLaughlin.

Extract from the Barunga Agreement 2018

The Northern Territory Treaty Commission sites.

At an historic meeting at the Barunga Festival in June 2018, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between the four Northern Territory Statutory Land Councils and the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory Government.

In the MOU, it was agreed that:

a) Aboriginal people, the First Nations, were the prior owners and occupiers of the land, seas and waters that are now called the Northern Territory of Australia. b) The First Nations of the Northern Territory were self-governing in accordance with their traditional laws and customs; and that c) First Nations peoples of the Northern Territory never ceded sovereignty of their lands, seas and waters.

It is also agreed there has been deep injustice done to the Aboriginal people of the Northern Territory, including violent dispossession, the repression of their languages and cultures, and the forcible removal of children from their families, which have left a legacy of trauma, and loss that needs to be addressed and healed.”

Calls for Submissions.

The Northern Territory Treaty Commission is encouraging written responses to the discussion paper as well as oral and audio-visual responses as they seek to travel to as many communities as possible.

The paper will be translated in many First Nations languages spoken in the Northern Territory.

Submissions need to be made by June 30 2021. Email The full discussion paper is on the website


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