Native Title

Our connection to our Ngurra (country) goes back more than 50,000 years. We have fought for our land, our culture and our rights since first contact with colonists in the early 1860s. Yindjibarndi Ngurra became a “last refuge” for many Pilbara groups as their land was taken from them, and in more recent times we have led the fightback.

The community gathers for the initiation ceremony at Woodbrook lore ground.

Just a few months after the Native Title Act became law, we jointly submitted one of Australia’s very first native title claims. The case, which involved our Ngarluma neighbours, began five years later and in 2005 the Nicholson judgment found that we jointly had non-exclusive possession over some parts of the 25,000 square kilometre Determination area. The case involved 35 days of evidence given on-country and 80 witnesses.

Together with a subsequent Yindjibarndi claim, which we were forced to prosecute all the way to the High Court, the Yindjibarndi rights extend over 13,000 square kilometres of the Pilbara high country. These rights include Exclusive and non-Exclusive native title possession, and they are managed by our two prescribed bodies corporate, Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation (YAC) and Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation (YNAC).

We’re now utilising our Ngurra to connect with our past and embrace the future. We are supporting a homeland movement that will enable Yindjibarndi people to return to their country to live. We are partnering with groups that value and respect the Yindjibarndi way, one example being the formation of Yindjibarndi Energy Corporation with ACEN which will enable our community to utilise our Ngurra for renewable energy and earn sustainable income for generations to come.

You can find our more about YAC here, and YNAC here.

Justice Stephen Burley, centre, with witnesses, legal counsel and community members at Bankangarra for the Yindjibarndi compensation case, August 2023.

Yindjibarndi determination areas