The Ngunnawal Nation Traditional Owners Network Group has announced its intention to lodge a native title claim over the entire Australian Capital Territory and parts of New South Wales.
The announcement was made at a press conference Friday afternoon, on the 30th anniversary of the Mabo decision.
Group spokeswoman Sonia Shea said Mabo Day was a “significant day” to declare their intention to ensure protection of cultural rights and interests in the region.
Ms Shea said once anthropological research into genealogical links to the claim area was completed, the group would proceed.
“We have over 300 registered families within our group and we’ve been working together on this for a number of years, working towards the rights and interests of our people, the Ngunnawal traditional owners of this country that we’re on today,” she said.
At the conference Ngunnawal man Bradley Mapiva Brown said the ancestral group had occupied the area for about 60,000 years.
He noted that the group’s key principles included the preservation of Ngunnawal sovereign and identity, and the protection of their boundaries.
Mr Brown also noted the group intended to protect and preserve Ngunnawal culture and heritage for future generations.
Previous native title applications lodged in the Australian Capital Territory in 1996 and 1997 were withdrawn when the Territory government and Ngunnawal people reached an agreement over a 99-year joint management lease for Namadgi National Park.
In 2018, the Australian Capital Territory government said it was open to talking Treaty with the First Nations people of Canberra.